Trio of banged-up Bombers on path to returnYankees put Hafner on disabled list with right rotator cuff strain
The player that will be back soonest is infielder Jayson Nix, who said he believed he will be activated Monday ahead of the Yankees' series in Los Angeles. Manager Joe Girardi confirmed that thought later in the day, and Nix said he "feels great" after coming through a four-game rehab assignment split between the Gulf Coast League and Tampa Yankees.
"I've felt good for a while. I just started running really on Tuesday, but from the first day I started running I felt good," Nix said. "I never had any setbacks or any kind of days where I didn't feel good."
Nix was eligible to return to the Yankees as soon as the All-Star break ended but said the extra week was nothing more than a bit of precaution and a bit of scheduling.
"The way the schedule was set up, I hadn't played and I had just started running, so I knew it was possible I'd be out longer," he said. "But I feel great."
Curtis Granderson, who played alongside Nix in Tampa over the last three days, will not be returning in Los Angeles. But Girardi intimated that it might not be much longer -- perhaps even the start of the San Diego series on Friday -- before Granderson is back in the lineup.
"We're pleased with the progress he's making," Girardi said.
Turning toward the mound, David Phelps is on schedule to continue his rehab assignment with the Double-A Trenton Thunder and make his second rehab start on Tuesday, with five innings or 75 pitches his goal.
Phelps threw 61 pitches over 3 2/3 innings for the Thunder in Altoona, Penn., last Tuesday. He said he was "relieved" that he came through that first outing without any issues because a forearm injury could be either a symptom of or precursor to something much lengthier in scope.
"It's not something you want to mess around with," Phelps said. "That's why we said something, so we could get it taken care of and be back as soon as possible. It feels great now, though, so we'll see where we're at after Tuesday."
Phelps didn't know when he would be ready to return to the Bronx, only saying that he knew he had 30 days on his rehab clock and the team would "see where we're at" after each rehab outing. Girardi concurred there's no set plan for how much rehab time Phelps needs.
"The fair thing is to evaluate his start, see how many pitches he throws, and go from there," the manager said.
The Yankees did have to make one notch in the negative column on Sunday, however, as designated hitter Travis Hafner was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right rotator cuff strain. Hafner, who has posted a .205-12-37 line in 91 games this year, complained of soreness in his shoulder after Friday's game and had an MRI on Saturday that revealed the strain. His deactivation ended up being the Yankees' reciprocal roster move for Derek Jeter's activation.