Wang, Bruney, Gardner and more

By Jon Lane
Upon my arrival to the Bronx, Xavier Nady (elbow) and Cody Ransom (strained right quad) were running on the infield. Nady felt good after hitting off a tee on Saturday and remains on tap to start rehab later this month. It’ll be a bit longer for Ransom.

Then right before heading downstairs I conducted my first Q&A session with David Cone. We’ll be doing these periodically throughout the season. You can check out Cone’s take on the differences with the Yankees today, compared to earlier this month off that 2-5 homestand, among other topics on tomorrow.

On to the news of the day:

Chien-Ming Wang will report here tomorrow to throw a bullpen session before Joe Girardi and his coaches, which will determine whether or not he’ll need one more rehab start. Girardi detected some inconsistency in his sinker, citing location, and wants to see for himself and speak with the right-hander before making a decision. Wang looked tremendous Saturday pitching for Triple-A Scranton, throwing seven shutout innings and giving up three hits. While he has tossed 13 shutout innings in his two starts, Girardi noted his sinker has been up in the strike zone.

Even if Wang is deemed ready to return, there are no plans as to where to slot him into the rotation at this time. Phil Hughes is scheduled to start on Wednesday against the Orioles, so don’t expect to see Wang activated – if that’s the decided course of action – until at least Wednesday night.

Brian Bruney allowed a run on two hits with one strikeout in his one inning of work yesterday for Scranton and is hoping to be activated tomorrow, which is likely. The only thing Girardi confirmed is he will not carry 13 pitchers, which means a reliever will lose his spot on the active roster. Girardi and the bullpen sorely missed the hard-throwing right-hander who was 2-0, 3.38 with 12 strikeouts and two walks over eight innings (nine appearances). He’ll return immediately to the eighth-inning role, which will allow Girardi to mix and match earlier in the game.

“It affected it us a little bit,” Girardi said. “I think it’s important to get him back. He’s only thrown the one game, so the thing about him is, is he going to be as sharp as when he left us? I sure hope so, but you’re not going to know for sure until you get him out there.”

Brett Gardner is day-to-day and unavailable for tonight’s game. Gardner complained of a sore right shoulder this afternoon, one day after his head-first slide into home plate completed a mad dash home that caught everyone off guard except Joe Mauer, and went for an MRI that revealed a contusion of the rotator cuff, in layman’s terms a bruise.

CC Sabathia (3-3, 3.70) opens the Yankees’ three-game series against Brad Bergesen (1-1, 5.27) and the Orioles tomorrow night. Sabathia was his old self his last two starts, limiting the Blue Jays to two runs on five hits in eight innings after tossing a complete-game shutout against the O’s May 8 in Baltimore.

“He’s had a little sharper slider and a little more depth to his slider at times,” Girardi said. “CC is the type of guy who’s going to locate a lot and that’s what he did his last two starts. You hope that it just continues. You know he’s not going to be perfect but he’s also going to give you everything he’s got every time he goes out. He’ll give you some distance when he’s on and that’s always great for your bullpen.”

Hughes (1-3, 7.56) opposes Jeremy Guthrie (3-3, 5.21) Wednesday. Joba Chamberlain (2-1, 3.76) and Adam Eaton (2-4, 7.93) conclude the set on Thursday before the Yankees welcome the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies to town Memorial Day weekend.

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