NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Yankees setup man Rafael Soriano is unlikely to need a trip to the disabled list after an MRI on Wednesday revealed only mild inflammation in his right elbow.
Manager Joe Girardi said the right-hander is scheduled to play catch Thursday and might be available when the Yankees host the Red Sox in a three-game series starting Friday night.
“The MRI came back really pretty good,” Girardi said. “He’ll need a couple of days.”
Soriano, who signed a three-year, $35 million deal in the offseason, has struggled thus far with his new eighth-inning role. The former Tampa Bay Rays closer is 1-1 with a 5.79 ERA in 15 appearances, and has been booed several times by the fans at Yankee Stadium.
This is the second nagging injury already for Soriano. He was unable to pitch in a game against Baltimore last month after complaining of pain in his back.
The news of Soriano’s elbow injury came out after Girardi used Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning to protect a two-run lead against the Royals on Tuesday night. Mariano Rivera worked the ninth inning to preserve the Yankees’ 3-1 victory in the series opener.
Girardi said he isn’t concerned that Soriano may have a recurrence of the elbow trouble that has plagued him in the past. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2004, then was on the DL three times during the 2008 season with Atlanta before more elbow surgery that August.
“If it recurs, you get more concerned about it, and hopefully just a few days off will knock it out,” Girardi said. “Right now, I’m not comparing ’08 to 2011. If it keeps recurring, you might have some similar issues.”
In other news, the Yankees activated right-handed reliever Luis Ayala from the disabled list and optioned fellow right-hander Lance Pendleton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The 33-year-old Ayala, who agreed to a minor league deal in February and pitched his way onto the team, allowed two runs in five innings with the Yankees earlier this season. He gave up one run in five innings, with seven strikeouts and no walks, on his rehab stint.
Pendleton gave up four hits in 6 1-3 scoreless innings for New York.
Right-hander Carlos Silva is expected to pitch at Double-A or Triple-A this weekend after making two starts at Class-A Tampa. He was released by the Chicago Cubs during spring training and agreed to a minor league contract with New York on April 9.
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