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Soriano shut down after MRI

Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano will meet with

Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano will meet with Dr. James Andrews Wednesday in Pensacola, Fla., after undergoing another MRI Tuesday on his elbow. Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

Just days after manager Joe Girardi said that Rafael Soriano was "progressing," the Yankees were met with ominous news Tuesday about the reliever's immediate future in pinstripes.

Soriano is scheduled to meet with noted sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews Wednesday in Pensacola, Fla., after undergoing another MRI Tuesday on his elbow. The Yankees would not release the tests results but, through a team spokesman, said "it showed enough for him to see Andrews."

The righthander, who was placed on the disabled list May 17 (retroactive to May 14), had his throwing session on flat ground cut short Monday after he complained of elbow soreness. On the suggestion of the team's doctor, he underwent a contrast dye MRI Tuesday.

Girardi had hoped the 31-year-old would return to the mound by the end of their six-game homestand, which concludes this afternoon against Toronto. But Girardi's optimism quickly faded when he heard Soriano was scheduled for yet another MRI.

"I'm more concerned now because I really thought we would have him getting ready to possibly go out on a rehab assignment shortly and that doesn't seem to be the case now," the manager said.

Soriano was signed to a three-year, $35 million deal in the offseason to the dismay of general manager Brian Cashman, who made it clear he did not want the former Tampa Bay closer on his roster. Soriano has a 5.40 ERA and already has given up nine earned runs -- three shy of last year's season total -- and 11 walks in 15 innings.

Despite those less-than-impressive stats, his absence has put Girardi in a bind. The manager had the option of using Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson and Soriano, collectively, in the seventh and eighth innings. Now, he has just two healthy arms.

"There are days they're going to need days off," he said. "[Luis] Ayala has stepped up and done a nice job. He's kind of become that third guy, but it just takes a talented person out of our bullpen."

Soriano already has become a lightning rod in his brief stint in the Bronx. After blowing a 4-0 lead and a potential win for CC Sabathia in his third game with the Yankees, the righthander bolted from the lockerroom without talking to reporters. On the advice of his agent Scott Boras, he apologized the next day.

Soriano created more controversy last week when he threw the Yankees' offense under the bus, saying: "I don't think the bullpen is the problem right now. I think it's the hitters."


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