David Robertson (oblique) came through yesterday’s 25-pitch batting practice fine and will start a rehab assignment on Sunday. He will likely pitch AAA ball in Rochester against the Twins’ affiliate.
Robertson said he has not felt pain in his oblique in about a week. He threw full force on Thursday to test it and did not feel any discomfort.
“I’m throwing and I feel good,” Robertson said. “I felt like I tested it yesterday. I threw the ball hard. I threw the ball hard in all my bullpens. I really tried to make sure it’s ready. The last thing I want to do is say I’m fine and have something else happen. I’m trying to avoid that.”
He thinks he will pitch Sunday, take Monday off and pitch again on Tuesday. He hopes that would put him in line to return Friday night in Washington.
“I think that’s realistic,” said Girardi, who will not need Robertson to pitch consecutive days before activating him.
• Brett Gardner (elbow) will begin his rehab assignment tonight in Charleston. Girardi said it is conceivable Gardner could return before Robertson, which would mean while the Yankees are in Atlanta from Monday-Wednesday.
“Gardy could be quicker (than Robertson) if everything goes OK, but we have to see how he feels after each start,” Girardi said.
• If you missed it, fast-healing Joba Chamberlain (ankle) made 25 throws off a mound today in Tampa. It was Chamberlain’s first time pitching off a mound since he was injured in March.
The AP asked Chamberlain if he would pitch this season, which led to the following response: “Is that even a question?”
• In the same story there is news of David Aardsma, who threw 40 pitches and may be ready to pitch a simulated game next week.
• The Yankees face Johan Santana tonight for the first time since they beat him 4-0 at Yankee Stadium on June 20, 2010. Derek Jeter, who is 15 for 33 in his career against Santana, enters the game in his worst slump in a year. He’s hitless in his last 14 at-bats, which is his longest 0-fer since last May.
“It’s pretty much the same every year. You go through streaks where you’re feeling good and go through streaks where you feel bad,” Jeter said. “Hopefully, when you’re feeling bad you’re able to get hits here and there, which hasn’t been the case the last few days. You just try to get comfortable again. It’s not the first time I’ve gone through not feeling good. Sometimes all it takes is one at-bat.”
Jeter said the Yankees won’t alter their approach with Santana coming off a 134-pitch effort:
“It doesn’t make a difference how many pitches he throws,” Jeter said. “It doesn’t make a difference how many hits he gives up in the previous outing — no hits the last outing. He’s going to be ready for us. It’s going to be a challenge. He’s difficult. He’s not fun to face, but you have to enjoy those types of challenges.”
• As for the Mets, Terry Collins said Johan Santana will have “no restrictions” tonight. He would like to see the lefty throw around 115 pitches off his career-high 134-pitch effort during last Friday’s no-hitter.
And if he passes that number with another no-hitter intact?
“If he’s pitching a no-hitter tonight, I’ll probably give him a chance to run it out again,” Collins said. “If it’s a one-run game and he looks like he’s getting really fatigued, you might have to make a different decision. But if you have a six-run lead and you’re looking history in the face, you got to let him go.”
• Jason Bay will play for the first time since fracturing a rib on April 23. He will bat eighth so that red-hot Scott Hairston, among others, can hit in the middle of the order. Collins said he discussed it with Bay to make sure the one-time feared slugger was comfortable.
• Chris Young came back from paternity leave and the Mets sent down Pedro Beato, opting to keep Jeremy Hefner in the bullpen instead. Hefner started on Wednesday, but is not expected to remain in the rotation going forward.
• Ruben Tejada (thigh) flew to Florida today and will take the next two days off. He’s expected to begin a running program Monday. Ronny Cedeno (calf), the team’s other shortstop, ran the bases today.
• Here’s Collins on the Mets and Yankees being able to help one another after this weekend: “We’ve got Tampa Bay, Baltimore,” he said. “I hope they reciprocate and we do the best we can to help them.”