Pedro Feliciano throws during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner...

Pedro Feliciano throws during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner field in Tampa. (Feb. 14, 2011) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Pedro Feliciano isn't getting any better.

The lefthanded reliever, one of general manager Brian Cashman's key offseason acquisitions, played catch yesterday afternoon for the first time in more than two weeks.

It did not go well.

"It's not really pain, it's just like a pinch when I throw," Feliciano said of the injury, which is in his teres minor, a muscle in the rotator cuff. "No pain at all."

On the surface, that sounds like good news, but that was almost exactly the same report Feliciano gave to Joe Girardi the last time he threw, March 27 in Tampa during spring training.

Feliciano, who found himself in a minor intracity contretemps last week when Cashman said the Mets "abused" him the past three seasons, stressed that the discomfort wasn't causing him pain.

"It wasn't that bad, but it wasn't me," said Feliciano, who signed a two-year deal for $8 million. "I didn't feel like it was my arm. My arm is loose and it was weird. Not tight, I just didn't feel like it was me."

The excitement Feliciano brought to the ballpark quickly disappeared.

"I was surprised because I was jumping all over to be able to play catch," he said. "And then I came back, not sad, but came back not with the result that I wanted."

Feliciano met Tuesday with team physician Christopher Ahmad, who will conduct another MRI Wednesday, the pitcher said.

Girardi was worried about Feliciano when the team broke camp and has grown more concerned. The reliever essentially has been shut down since his March 9 spring training outing.

"It's a concern because we were hoping after these two weeks we'd be able to take the next step and then the next step and we're just not there yet," Girardi said. "We'll do an MRI tomorrow and maybe get a better timetable."

Girardi delivered two pieces of bad news about his bullpen after Tuesday night's rainout. The second was about righthander Luis Ayala, who will be headed to the disabled list with what Girardi said was a "strained lat muscle."

Ayala reported the issue after his most recent outing in Boston on Saturday, when he pitched two scoreless innings. Girardi did not announce a corresponding roster move but it isn't likely to be the one many fans want: 20-year-old lefthander Manny Banuelos, who tossed four shutout innings, with four strikeouts Monday in his debut for Double-A Trenton.

One possibility is lefty Andy Sisco, who has been throwing well for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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