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BOS@NYY: Phelps fans Carp to work out of trouble

With Michael Pineda serving a 10-game suspension and sidelined for up to four weeks due to a back strain, the Mariners will miss the chance to face their former teammate on Wednesday in the second act of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Instead, it'll be Yankees right-hander David Phelps facing off against Seattle rookie Roenis Elias in the 7:05 p.m. ET game.

Pineda, an All-Star for Seattle in his rookie season of 2011 before being traded for Jesus Montero, was suspended for having a "foreign substance" on his body when umpires found pine tar on his neck during an April 23 game against the Red Sox.

Phelps will be making his first start of the season in Pineda's place. The 6-foot-2 right-hander has a 3.86 ERA in nine relief appearances this year, though he's 7-6 with a 4.39 ERA in 23 career starts, including 12 last year for the Yankees.

That's more starting experience than Elias brings to the mound for a Seattle club that has scrambled to fill out its rotation in the season's first month while All-Star right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma and highly regarded prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton have spent time on the disabled list.

Elias, a 25-year-old Cuban, stepped up in Spring Training and made the leap from Double-A ball to the starting rotation. He's 1-2 with a 3.54 ERA in five starts and will be making his first appearance against the Yankees.

In his last outing, a no-decision against the Rangers, Elias gave up five hits and three runs over 5 2/3 innings. The 6-foot southpaw kept his club close against Texas, striking out the final two batters of the fourth inning to escape a jam that led to just one run despite a double and three walks earlier in the frame.

The Mariners came from behind to win that game, and manager Lloyd McClendon was again pleased with the young left-hander.

"I thought he threw the ball pretty darn good," McClendon said. "Other than that one inning, I don't think he was really stressed most of the game. He made quality pitches and did a heck of a job for us."

Elias said it continues to be a sharp learning curve as he adjusts to life in the Majors after earning Southern League All-Star honors last year for Double-A Jackson.

"I got a little out of my rhythm [in the fourth inning against Texas]," Elias said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "You have to attack hitters and stay ahead to control the game."

Phelps is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in two appearances against Seattle, including a six-inning start last June 9 at Safeco Field in which he allowed three hits and one run during a 2-1 victory. Manager Joe Girardi said he hopes to get about 70-75 pitches from Phelps, who last started on July 4 of last season in a 9-5 victory at Minnesota.

Mariners: Miller, Ackley expected back in lineup
Shortstop Brad Miller and left fielder Dustin Ackley weren't in the starting lineup against southpaw CC Sabathia for Tuesday's series-opening 6-3 Mariners win, but both are expected to play when Seattle faces right-handers Phelps and Hiroki Kuroda on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Miller, hitting .174, was replaced by veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist in two games against Rangers left-handers last weekend and was on the bench again against Sabathia. Ackley went 1-for-15 in the last homestand and has lost time recently to the newly added Cole Gillespie.

"I did not want to put Miller back in the lineup against CC," McClendon said. "Giving him another day will not hurt as well."

As for Ackley?

"Just giving Ack a breather also against a tough lefty," McClendon said. "He's my left fielder and he'll play."

Ackley entered Monday's game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and finished 2-for-2 with an RBI and a run scored.

Yankees: Pineda pulled from simulated game
Pineda pitched in a simulated game for the Yankees in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, but was pulled after one inning of work upon feeling tightness under his right arm.

An MRI exam revealed a Grade 1 strain of the teres major muscle in Pineda's upper back -- relatively good news, given that the soreness isn't in the shoulder area, where he previously had surgery. Pineda, 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA in four starts, was originally expected to start on Monday against the Angels when his 10-game suspension will end.

Worth noting
• Felix Hernandez, who is scheduled to start on Thursday against the Yankees, has 47 strikeouts in his first six starts this season to tie for the American League lead with David Price of the Rays at 10.23 strikeouts per nine innings.

• Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak had 14 RBIs in Seattle's first 24 games. Last year, Smoak didn't get his 14th RBI until July 7.

• Shortstop Brendan Ryan, currently on the 15-day DL for the Yankees with a cervical spine nerve injury, played rehab games for Class A Advanced Tampa on Sunday and Monday and went 3-for-8 with a walk and two RBIs. Comments