Chan Ho Park is closer than ever to returning to the Yankees bullpen.
Park threw a 45-pitch bullpen session today and will make a rehab appearance in extended spring training on Wednesday. That outing will determine how quickly Park returns to the big league bullpen.
“He might get two (rehab games),” Joe Girardi said. “We’ll make a judgment after Wednesday.”
Park has been out since April 14 with a strained right hamstring. The Yankees initially expected him back sooner than this, but it’s taken longer than expected to get back to normal.
Girardi said the Yankees are content with leaving Park in extended spring for all of his rehab. They only need him to pitch, they don’t need him to face advanced hitters.
• Ivan Nova is active, but he’s not supposed to arrive in Detroit until just before game time. “Get your uni on and get down there,” Girardi said. Romulo Sanchez has been optioned back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but he’s still with the big league club for the day so that he can go through his normal routine.
• Alfredo Aceves said his back feels much better today. “Here in Detroit, they have pretty good beds,” he said. Aceves is going to throw off flat ground before tonight’s game. Girardi said he hopes to have Aceves back tomorrow, but he won’t completely rule out using him tonight.
• Girardi on the fact Mariano Rivera hasn’t been used in 10 days: “I’m not too worried about it because he doesn’t have two or three pitches that he needs to mix in.”
• Four innings is a reasonable expectation for Sergio Mitre tonight. “I would love five innings,” Girardi said. “You might see me do a cartwheel for the second time in my life.”
• Javier Vazquez is looking forward to a chance to pitch again tomorrow and said it feels like a month since he was last in a game. Since his last start he’s thrown two bullpens, each of them longer and more intense than most of his between-starts bullpen sessions. Vazquez said he feels good, but he’ll need to see results before he knows his problems have been corrected.
• Johnny Damon is sporting a mohawk. When someone told him he looks like Nick Swisher, Damon laughed. “Don’t say that please,” Damon said. “He’s been trying to copy me all these years.” Pretty funny stuff.
• Speaking of Damon, he said he still checks in on his old team. “How an you not?” he said. “They’re doing well.”
• Kevin Russo and Austin Jackson had lockers next to one another last year in Scranton and they’ve been close friends since High-A. Russo tried to trick Jackson this morning, texting and pretending he hadn’t been called up. He assumed Jackson wouldn’t know and he’d be able to surprise him at the ballpark. Turns out, Jackson’s parents told him Russo had been called to New York, and Jackson watched him on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball. “He said, ‘I saw you playing last night!'” Russo said.
Associated Press photos