ST. PETERSBURG -- Pitching on back-to-back days -- often considered the final step in the recovery process of a reliever -- could be on tap for Yankees right-hander Rafael Soriano.
Soriano gave up a run on two hits and threw 16 pitches in his lone inning of work for Class A Tampa on Thursday. Prior to his outing, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he could see Soriano pitching in a back-to-back situation on Sunday and Monday, which could set him up to be activated off the disabled list by the middle of next week.
"Probably, yeah," Girardi said when asked if Soriano could rejoin the Yankees by Wednesday or Thursday.
Soriano has been out since May 13 with inflammation in his elbow, and he gave up two runs in 1 1/3 innings in his first rehab game on Tuesday.
In that same Tampa Yankees game on Thursday, Eric Chavez went 1-for-3 with an RBI double. Chavez also played third base for the first time and remained on the field for six innings. Chavez is nursing a bone bruise on his foot and went 4-for-5 as the designated hitter on Wednesday.
Ivan Nova, who injured his right ankle while pitching for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday, remains an option to start for the Yankees in a July 30 split doubleheader against the Orioles.
But that'll depend on how he feels.
As for right now?
"He feels OK," Girardi said about Nova. "He's on the seven-day [disabled list], but he feels pretty good."
Girardi added that third baseman Alex Rodriguez (arthroscopic knee surgery) has been doing exercises in the pool in Miami and had his stitches taken out Thursday.
Infielder Ramiro Pena, who underwent an emergency appendectomy on Monday, has been released from the hospital.
"He walked into the hotel yesterday a little hunched over," Girardi quipped.