Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano pitches against the Tigers during the...

Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano pitches against the Tigers during the eighth inning. (Mar. 31, 2011) Credit: Chris Ware

Rafael Soriano slid on a shiny watch loaded with bling, readying for the Yankees’ late-night chartered flight to Tampa following their 7-5 loss to the Red Sox Sunday night.

The Yankees' setup man was preparing to head back to his old stomping grounds in the Tampa area for the Yankees’ big two-game set with the first-place Rays that begins Monday night at Tropicana Field, his first trip down there in pinstripes. But Soriano won’t be seeing any action against the Rays, all because of some soreness in his right elbow.

He played catch before Sunday night’s game, but has to pass another test Monday before he gets the green light to pitch in a game.

“I’m going to throw a bullpen [Monday] and see how I feel,” Soriano said. “If everything goes fine, I’ll be ready on Wednesday.”

Soriano, who also wasn’t available Saturday, said last week that his elbow hasn’t felt right now for a couple of weeks. He had a precautionary MRI last Wednesday, which revealed some minor inflammation, and said he hasn’t had any more tests conducted since then.

He said he felt fine after Sunday’s session and didn’t seem overly worried about the injury possibly lingering, this despite general manager Brian Cashman hinting it’s something he’s getting a bit worried about.

“Until he gets in the clear, it's an issue,” Cashman said. “Until I'm not having to ask how he's feeling today, it's something that obviously is going to be a concern.”

Soriano, who inked a three-year, $35-million deal this past offseason, has battled a few injuries in his first season as a Yankee. He was also held out of a game in Baltimore last month due to back pain and admitted it’s getting a bit frustrating.

“It’s not easy for me because I’m on a new team and I’m trying to do the best that I can,” he said. “And right now, nothing is happening because I can’t pitch. So, it’s not easy for me.”

As for not being able to face his old team over these next two days, Soriano basically shrugged it off. “To me, it don’t matter who we are going to face,” he said. “I know our tam right now is struggling and tomorrow is going to be a better day.”


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