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Sports briefs: Pitcher Michael Pineda earns No. 5 spot in Yankees’ rotation
First Published Mar 25 2014 05:10 pm • Last Updated Mar 25 2014 11:30 pm

MLB • Michael Pineda will be the New York Yankees’ fifth starter. Manager Joe Girardi announced the decision before Tuesday night’s preseason game against Philadelphia in Tampa, Fla.

Pineda, who missed the past two seasons after right shoulder surgery, beat out David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno. Pineda has given up three runs and struck out 16 over 15 innings in four games.

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Girardi said Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka will make his major league debut April 4 at Toronto. CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova are to start the opening series at Houston next week.

• The Texas Rangers sent former All-Star closer Neftali Feliz to Triple-A Round Rock. The right-hander allowed 13 hits and five runs in nine spring training games.

• Baseball players and management hope to reach a new drug agreement this week that would increase initial penalties for muscle-building steroids and decrease suspensions for some positive tests caused by unintentional use, people familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

• The New York Mets say former pitcher Frank Viola will undergo heart surgery next week. The 53-year-old Viola is the pitching coach of Triple-A Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League. Doctors discovered his ailment during a spring training exam.

Murray, Djokovic will meet in Florida

TENNIS • Defending champion Andy Murray defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-1 in the Sony Open at Key Biscayne, Fla., setting up a quarterfinal with Novak Djokovic — their first meeting since Murray won the Wimbledon final last summer. Djokovic eased past Tommy Robredo 6-3, 7-5.

On the women’s side, Maria Sharapova rallied to oust Petra Kvitova 7-5, 6-1 and earn a spot in the semifinals.

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