Soriano in New York, return likely this week

Soriano in New York, return likely this week

NEW YORK -- Rafael Soriano figures to return to the Yankees' bullpen on Friday, when the team opens a four-game weekend series with the Orioles.

The right-hander traveled to New York on Tuesday to be evaluated after pitching in back-to-back games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.

"He felt good today," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "[He had] normal soreness, in a sense, that you'd have after you've thrown for two days. He hadn't thrown in a while, so our plan is to activate him soon. We'll re-evaluate him [Wednesday] and then go from there."

Soriano has been on the disabled list since mid-May with right elbow inflammation. With an off-day set for Thursday, Girardi said it was unlikely the Yankees would rush to activate Soriano for Wednesday.

"It's possible, but probably not," he said. "He's thrown two days in a row. We want to make sure when we do bring him back, he is recovered. So we'll see how he feels [Wednesday]."

After Tuesday's 4-1 victory over the Mariners, Girardi would not commit to immediately restoring Soriano to his eighth-inning role, which has been capably filled by All-Star reliever Dave Robertson.

"Well, the first thing is, let me get [Soriano] back," Girardi said. "Then we'll make decisions as the game goes on. We need to get him pitching well, and that's the bottom line, getting him comfortable. He had four outings, which is not a ton of outings -- it's somewhat of a short Spring Training. If we feel that we need him, then I'll make those decisions."