Youkilis returns to lineup; Yankees call up Vidal Nuno

04/27/2013 2:56 PM ET
By Joe Auriemma

Kevin Youkilis will return to the Yankees' lineup on Saturday after missing a week with back stiffness. Youkilis last played on April 20.(AP)
It's game three of the Yankees and Blue Jays four game weekend set, but there is never a dull moment in the Bronx. Once again the news of the day surrounded the roster of the Yankees and how they were going to fill the gaps with both Francisco Cervelli and Ivan Nova being sidelined in Friday night's game.

As reported last night, Cervelli fractured his right hand, but he had successful surgery Saturday morning and word is that it went as expected. He was put on the 15-day disabled list with the Yankees making the obvious move to call up Austin Romine, who was pulled from Friday night's Railriders game mid-inning after the news of Cervelli broke.

Chris Stewart will be handling the catching duties on Saturday with CC Sabathia on the hill, but in order for Romine to familiarize himself with the Yankees pitching staff and get up to speed, he caught two bullpens on Saturday morning, one with Andy Pettitte and the other with Hiroki Kuroda.

"He's going to catch some," Girardi said. "I'm going to catch Stew (Stewart) today and I'll look at it everyday. We've got to see how Austin does when we put him in this situation. How he does will depend on how we use him."

Romine had been up with the Yankees at the end of the 2011 season and went 3-for-19, a .158 average, in nine Major League games. After only playing 31 Minor League games in 2012 due to a back injury that sidelined him most of the season, Romine came into Major League came with a chance to compete for a spot on the roster. He started the season once again in Triple-A, but in the 14-games, he went 14-for-42, a .333 clip, with one home run and four RBIs. Known more for his defensive prowess behind the plate, he should get a decent opportunity to play in Cervelli's absence.

"We had him up here in 2011 and I thought he did a good job," Girardi said of Romine. "His problem is he's been hurt and hasn't played a lot. I felt then that defensively he could catch in the big leagues. Then he had the back injury and didn't get many at-bats last year. We just felt we don't necessarily consider him a backup. We consider him an everyday player, so we thought it would be in his best interest to go down to Triple-A and play everyday, but with the injury he's going to get some playing time."

Nova to Nuno

Another roster spot that needed to be filled was the one left by Ivan Nova after coming out of the game in the third inning in Friday night's game with soreness in his triceps of his pitching arm. An MRI revealed that there is no structural damage to the arm, but it's an inflammation issue, which is terrific news for Nova.

"He just has a little inflammation in his triceps," Girardi said. "Hopefully we can knock it out fairly quickly and get him back." Girardi added that this was certainly good news coming out of the MRI results.

However, the Yankees still made the move to put him on the 15-day disabled list. Nova did seem relieved to hear the results, but also knew that the Yankees were going to make this move to get him healed up.

"Me personally I don't want to take a chance," Nova said of going on the disabled list. He jokingly added, "I knew when I saw (Vidal) Nuno, something was going on. They didn't tell me, but I knew. I just have to take it day-by-day."

The pitcher they chose to take his spot was the aforementioned Nuno, who impressed the Yankees in Spring Training and was pitching lights out in Scranton-Wilkes Barre to start the season. The southpaw will come out of the bullpen as a long man and second lefty.

Nuno was 2-0 in four starts with a 1.54 ERA at the Triple-A level this season. Even more impressive is the 26 strikeouts in 23.1 innings, while only walking two and allowing only 13 hits for a stellar 0.643 WHIP.

In order to add Nuno to the 40-man roster, they had to sign him to the roster and officially place Derek Jeter on the 60-day DL.

The day anyone gets called up to the Major League level is a thrill, but Nuno, who was calm as could be before the game, was beaming about the chance to play for the Yankees.

"It was thrilling," Nuno said of his call-up. "I was just watching TV and the manager (Dave) Miley just called me and just telling me, you're going to get the promotion up, you're going to the show. It felt great that thrill of just knowing I worked so hard to get up here. I took everything in a little bit, called my parents and they were thrilled. Now it's back to work."

Nuno is one of the pitchers the Yankees really liked coming out of Spring Training and this could be his opportunity to show them his quality stuff. Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild made it known to Nuno when he was eventually sent down to Triple-A that this opportunity might present itself.

"He really competes," Girardi said of Nuno. "He knows how to pitch and has a number of different options he can go to. I thought he had pretty good command of the strike zone."

"They just told me to keep my head up, continue to do what I'm doing and one day you're going to get your shot," Nuno said. "Today's the day and they gave me the shot. Now I just have to prove I belong here."

Youkilis is back

The Yankees received good news with Nova and also inserted Kevin Youklis back into the lineup for Saturday's game. With Youkilis feeling better, they did not have to add him to the disabled list, which is certainly a win for the Yankees.

"That is our hope," Girardi said of Youkilis playing on Saturday. "He went through some cage work and felt good. He'll go through BP and our hope is that he is ok and perhaps make an adjustment after BP, but our hope is he's ok."

So far, word is he is still in the lineup, even after he took his batting practice session. Youkilis being back in the lineup just enhances it that much more, especially facing another southpaw in J.A. Happ on Saturday. comments