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Yankees pregame: Soriano back

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Brian Heyman here for this weekend series against the Orioles. Rafael Soriano is here, too. The Yankees are activating him as expected. Reliever Steve Garrison is being optioned back to Double-A Trenton.

But Joe Girardi wouldn’t say how he was going to use Soriano long term, if Soriano would be taking back the eighth inning from David Robertson, who has been rather valuable in that role. Short term, it sounds as if Robertson will keep the job and Girardi will pick his spots for Soriano now.

“We’re going to work him back in slow,” Girardi said. “We’re not going to throw him right in there. We’ll be careful. I’ll have to look at (using) him two days in a row. We’re just getting him back, and we want to make sure he’s where he’s supposed to be.” 

Ivan Nova is scheduled to come up from Triple-A and pitch the second game of tomorrow’s day/night doubleheader, so the Yankees will have to make another roster move to make room. Girardi said wouldn’t say whether this would be a one-shot deal, just that he will reevaluate afterward. Girardi also said he had no regrets about having sent Nova back to the minors to make room for Phil Hughes.

“The guy that we brought back into the rotation won 18 games last year, and there aren’t a lot of people who do that every year,” Girardi said. “We thought there were things that Nova could also work on.” 

Girardi and two other of Hideki Irabu’s former teammates here, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, also reacted to the news that came out yesterday that the ex-pitcher had apparently committed suicide at the age 42.   

“Irabu was fun,” Jeter said. “He didn’t speak much English, but he knew more than probably he led you guys to believe. He was fun to be around. He had a good personality. … I feel bad for him and his family. I was caught off guard to say the least.”

“Devastating,” Posada said. “I got to know him real well. A guy who came out here with a lot riding on his shoulders. I thought he did a hell of a job for us. Tough times.

“When he was into it, he was the nastiest pitcher in the league. I remember in Seattle, he was on the trading block. They were talking about him getting traded for Randy Johnson at that time, and he really outpitched Randy. It was like a two- or three-hitter. Ken Griffey after the game talked really high about him. He threw 97, 98 mph. The splitty was 95, 96 mph.”

“He’s going to missed,” Girardi said. “He had children. … It’s sad.”