Derek Jeter may not return in April
His replacement at shortstop, Eduardo Nunez, joined the team's long list of banged-up players after being hit by a pitch and is day to day.
''I was scared it was broken,'' Nunez said after Detroit beat New York 8-3 Friday. ''The pain hurt a lot.''
Yankees manager Joe Girardi doesn't expect Nunez to play Saturday at Detroit, but is relieved the injury isn't as serious as it seemed when it happened.
''They did X-rays and those were negative, so that's good news,'' he said.
Phil Hughes, meanwhile, is coming back to pitch for the Yankees sooner than expected. Hughes, who has been out with back pain, was expected to start Saturday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as of Friday morning. Later in the day, Hughes had his start shifted to Comerica Park for the second game of the Tigers series.
In the opener against the Tigers, Nunez was hit by a pitch from Doug Fister in the fourth inning Friday, screamed in pain, grabbed his right biceps and came out of the game.
Before the game, Girardi said Friday that whenever Jeter is ready to return from his left ankle injury, he'll need to play many games before being called up.
''He's going to have to go through somewhat of a spring training,'' Girardi said before the series opener started.
The Yankees already have five All-Stars on the disabled list, with Jeter joined by third baseman Alex Rodriguez (hip surgery), first baseman Mark Teixeira (wrist), outfielder Curtis Granderson (broken forearm) and Hughes.
Jeter seemed to take a step toward coming back, hitting off a tee in a batting cage in Tampa, Fla., and would have taken grounders if it hadn't rained Friday morning.
After breaking his ankle in the AL championship series opener last October, Jeter played five spring training games from March 9-16. But he's been sidelined since then by ankle soreness.
Teixeira said he's still on schedule to return around May 1 and his injured right wrist is feeling better each day. Teixeira was hurt March 5 while with the U.S. team at the World Baseball Classic.
''I have to be optimistic,'' he said. ''I would love to be able to swing after the road trip.''
Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda is expected to take his next turn in the rotation Monday at Cleveland after bruising the middle finger on his throwing hand when hit by a Shane Victorino line drive Wednesday. Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang was scheduled to pitch in an extended spring training camp for the Yankees in Tampa, but threw a simulated game instead due to the weather.