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Granderson could be ready for Opening Day

After taking five rounds of indoor batting practice

After taking five rounds of indoor batting practice Monday, Curtis Granderson said he hoped to be able to play in Thursday's opener. Credit: AP

TAMPA, Fla. -- A day ago, there seemed to be little chance of Curtis Granderson making it back from his oblique injury in time for Opening Day. But there was a little more optimism Monday.

Though the rain that canceled Monday night's game against the Rays also kept Granderson indoors to take batting practice, he came through the session feeling good enough to start in a minor-league game Tuesday, weather permitting. He won't travel with the team to New York Wednesday and instead will play in another minor-league game. "If he gets through those two days, you would think he's ready to go,'' Joe Girardi said.

After five rounds of indoor batting practice, Granderson was cautiously optimistic. "Everything feels good, no setbacks,'' he said. "We're just continuing to move forward.''

Feliciano frustrated

Pedro Feliciano will start the season on the disabled list with soreness in the teres minor muscle, which is located in the rotator cuff. He will stay in Tampa to rehab.

"I thought I would be ready, but I'm still having some uncomfortable pain,'' said Feliciano, who has not pitched since March 9. "But I'll be OK. Hopefully, this will go away quickly.''

Tests haven't shown any damage, but the pain has lingered. Feliciano has led baseball in appearances three years running.

"First time I've missed Opening Day in a long time,'' he said. "It hurts because I want to be there with the team. But better to be ready and be there as long as I can for the playoffs and World Series, if we make it.''

Unless they execute a trade or pick up a released pitcher, the Yankees will take either RHP Luis Ayala or LHP Steve Garrison as their 12th pitcher.

More roster doings

OF Justin Maxwell and INF Doug Bernier were optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and INF Ronnie Belliard was released. RHP Mark Prior, a revelation during spring training, will stay in Tampa to pitch in minor-league games, then likely will be assigned to Class A Tampa. He would have been assigned to Triple-A, but with Prior's history of arm injuries, Girardi -- who thinks Prior can pitch in the majors this year -- wanted him somewhere with more "predictable'' spring weather.

Upon further review

RHP Kevin Millwood, after holding out for a major-league deal, signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees last Friday. The offer had been on the table for several months, and he acknowledged Monday that had he signed it earlier, he might have been in the competition for the jobs of fourth and fifth starter. Instead, Millwood, 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA in 1902/3 innings last season with the Orioles, will start the season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"It probably would have been nice to get here a little earlier,'' said Millwood, who can opt out of his deal if he's not on the major-league roster by May 1. "But it's not going to do me any good to look back on it now. Now it's just try and get ready, do what they want me to do and see where that takes me.''

Happy to be there

Bartolo Colon, who has made three career relief appearances, is embracing the opportunity to pitch out of the Yankees' bullpen. Though he outpitched Freddy Garcia in spring training in the battle for a rotation spot, the fact that he had not pitched in a major-league game since 2009 didn't put Colon in position to make many demands.

"I feel very happy and thankful to the Yankees for giving me the opportunity to be back in the major leagues again,'' he said. "I pitched better than what I thought I would.''

Extra bases

A.J. Burnett, who had been scheduled to start Monday night, threw a simulated game indoors . . . RHP Rafael Soriano, who said over the weekend that he was "done'' for spring training, likely will appear in Tuesday's spring training finale, Girardi said, though not until later in the game, when all of the Tigers' regulars are out. The Yankees open against the Tigers Thursday at the Stadium . . . Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera are among those scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game Tuesday . . . The Yankees announced they are in the process of selling RHP Romulo Sanchez to a Japanese team.


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