Aardsma, who signed with the club last Wednesday, is recovering from Tommy John surgery in July. The 30-year-old right-hander last pitched in the Majors in 2010, and he appreciated that the Yankees were the only team pursuing him aggressively enough to sign him this early in the spring. He is able to play catch from 90 feet for five minutes and his arm has been feeling good, but he said he tries to avoid worrying about the specifics of his rehab.
"I think when you set those goals and you look at those dates, you determine whether you're ahead or behind by those dates. I just want to be healthy," Aardsma said. "That's my key. I know how good I'll be if I'm healthy, so that's my goal."
Manager Joe Girardi said it will be nice to have Aardsma's power arm and closing experience no matter when he returns. Aardsma has been eyeing the All-Star break -- about a year after his surgery -- as an ideal return time.
Aardsma expects to stay in Tampa to continue his rehab once the regular season starts, but for now, he will continue to pick the brains of new teammates like Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, whose locker is next to his, while focusing on his rehab.
"I'm eager to let loose. I'm eager to get out there and pitch. But I understand the time aspect," Aardsma said. "I understand that whole side, and we've got time. We've got a bullpen here that can handle themselves, so it's not like I need to get back as soon as I can."