The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Pregame notes: A setback for the setup man

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on May 24, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

As you might have gathered, this Rafael Soriano situation doesn’t sound good. He was throwing on flat ground yesterday when he felt soreness in his right elbow. Joe Girardi was careful to note that it wasn’t “stiffness” it was “soreness.” Soriano went for a dye-contrast MRI today.

“I can’t tell you exactly why they did another MRI, but the doctor chose to do another,” Girardi said.

When Soriano went on the disabled list last week, he seemed to think this was a short-term issue. He said his elbow was feeling better. He seemed to think rest would do the trick, but so far, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

“I’m more concerned now,” Girardi said. “Because I really thought that we would have him getting ready to possibly go out on a rehab assignment shortly. That doesn’t seem to be the case now.”

The Yankees have been leaning heavily on Joba Chamberlain and Dave Robertson to fill the Soriano void, and Luis Ayala has stepped into the more prominent role as the setup guy who’s kind of a notch below those two.

Girardi said the Yankees are hoping to know more about Soriano after tonight’s game. For now, though, they’re going to be without him a while longer, and that puts more pressure on the perceived depth of this bullpen, which has to go beyond Chamberlain and Robertson.

“If they need a day off, they need a day off,” Girardi said. “That’s the bottom line, so you have to find a way to get it done without them.”

• Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero has unusual splits — probably because his changeup is such a key pitch — and left-handers actually hit him better than right-handers (.278/.345/.465 for lefties, .246/.330/.351 for righties). Girardi said that’s part of the reason both Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson are in the lineup and Andruw Jones is not.

• Girardi said he also took into account the desire to give Eduardo Nunez at-bats when making tonight’s lineup. Half of Nunez’s starts have come against lefties, and Girardi said he likes that setup to give Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez a break.

• Is Girardi willing to give Nunez an outfield start? “I’m not quite ready to do that yet, but we’ll see,” Girardi said.

• Rodriguez has hit batting average up to .289 and has gotten hot in the past week. “He’s just swung the bat a lot better,” Girardi said. “You don’t see him out front like we did when I thought he was coming out of his legs. We haven’t seen that, and that’s been real important.”

• Girardi was asked if he’ll take Jeter’s 3,000-hit pursuit into account when deciding when and where to rest his shortstop (in an attempt to have him reach the milestone in New York). “I haven’t yet, just because our job is to win games,” Girardi said. “That’s our job. As we get closer I’ll look at things, but like I said, our No. 1 job is to win games and he’s a part of that.”

• Girardi said CC Sabathia’s career success against Jose Bautista (0-for-11) won’t necessarily change the way the Yankees approach the Blue Jays top hitter. “He’s the guy that you can’t let beat you in that lineup,” Girardi said. “There are situations where we’re going to pitch to him, and there are situations when we might pitch around him.”

• Speaking of Sabathia, the Yankees have their Sunday starter listed as TBA and Girardi said he’ll probably announce it tomorrow, after Sabathia starts tonight. Sounds like the Yankees are deciding between Sabathia and Bartolo Colon for that start (they can use Thursday’s off day to change things around).

• And of course, a very happy 70th birthday to Bob Dylan.

Associated Press photos




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