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Pedro Feliciano close to pitching in games

Pedro Feliciano throws during spring training at George

Pedro Feliciano throws during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner field in Tampa. Photo Credit: Thomas A. Ferrara, 2011

DETROIT -- Experience has taught Brian Cashman to be cautious with these things, but the news continues to be positive regarding Pedro Feliciano, apparently ready to take another significant step in his rehab that could lead to a September call-up.

The lefthander, signed to a two-year $8-million contract (with a club option for 2013) before the 2011 season, has been throwing batting practice sessions for the last two weeks in Tampa and will be set for his first rehab outing "very soon," Cashman said by phone Tuesday.

Indications are that Feliciano, who had rotator-cuff surgery last September, will appear in a Gulf Coast League game Friday. He threw another BP session Tuesday.

"He might become someone who's available to us," Cashman said. "We'll have to see."

Cashman used Brett Gardner, out for the season with an elbow injury that required surgery, as the most recent example of why he's not counting on anything.

"We got Gardner all the way back to rehab games," Cashman said. "But when the games started, it didn't work out."

Joba Chamberlain, activated from the disabled list last week, spent a lot of time working out with Feliciano in Tampa.

"I saw him throw in the bullpen and he looked pretty damn good," Chamberlain said before Tuesday night's game here. "He's worked his ---- off. I'm looking forward to seeing him up here."

Chavez moves up

Joe Girardi had Eric Chavez hitting fifth Tuesday night, the first time the third baseman has hit that high this season. (Chavez hit fifth in one start last season.) "He's had really good at-bats against [Rick] Porcello," Girardi said of Detroit's starter. Coming in, Chavez was 3-for-4 (a single, double and triple) in his career against Porcello.


Ichiro Suzuki led off once in his first 14 games for the Yankees, but has been otherwise at the bottom of the order, including last nightTuesday night when he batted eighth for the 11th time.

"As much as you would like to say he's getting on base 40 percent of the time, he's not," Girardi said of being tempted to use Ichiro lower. "If it was three, four years ago, it's probably a different story."

Ichiro entered hitting .240 with a .269 OBP in 13 games with the Yankees.

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