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Struggling Soriano placed on DL

New York Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano, right,

New York Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano, right, speaks with manager Joe Girardi during a bullpen session prior to a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays. (May 16, 2011) Credit: AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rafael Soriano called April a "bad month."

His May isn't going much better.

The Yankees' three-year, $35-million investment, who flew back to New York Tuesday to meet with the team physician, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness. An MRI didn't reveal anything more than what last week's did: slight inflammation.

The Yankees, who had been carrying 13 pitchers, called up outfielder Chris Dickerson from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Soriano's roster spot.

"It gives us some flexibility if you want to give [Mark Teixeira] a day off, you can move [Nick Swisher] to first," Joe Girardi said. "There's just some different things you can do."

Dickerson, who found out about his call-up around midnight while riding the Scranton team bus home from Pawtucket, started in right for an ill Swisher Tuesday night and went 1-for-3 with an RBI single in the seventh inning.

For Soriano, whose signing general manager Brian Cashman publicly was against, little has gone right as a Yankee.

Soriano, who has a 5.40 ERA in 16 appearances, caused a stir after Monday's loss when he said executive vice president Felix Lopez suggested that he take 1-2 weeks off "just to be safe."

A Yankees spokesman said late Monday that Lopez was serving as an "intermediary" between the training staff and Soriano, and Girardi said he wasn't bothered. But team hierarchy -- primarily meaning managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner -- wasn't pleased with Lopez giving medical advice.

A source familiar with the situation said Lopez was at Tuesday night's game by decree, and was told to apologize to several people, including Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

Soriano also created a minor issue with his statement that the team's current slump was because of "the hitters," something that didn't seem to sit well with Girardi.

"My thought is we win as a team and we lose as a team," Girardi said. "Everyone on this club can always do a little better. You can take that for what it's worth."

Would he talk to Soriano?

"What I do with my players, I try to keep it in-house and that's what I'll do," Girardi said.

To replace Soriano in the eighth inning, he said it would be a combination of Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson and perhaps others.

"We'll go day by day," Girardi said.


Extra bases

The Yankees, needing lefthanded bullpen help, signed lefty reliever Randy Flores to a minor-league deal. Flores, 35, a ninth-round selection by the Yankees in the 1997 draft, totaled 58 games with the Rockies and Twins last season.

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