Yankee manager Joe Girardi told reporters before yesterday’s game that reliever Brian Bruney isn’t any closer to returning. The Daily News has the story:
Bruney, on the DL with a strained flexor muscle, still felt something in his elbow when he played catch on Saturday, causing the Yankees to shut him down for a few days. He’ll try to throw on flat ground again today, and if that goes well, it will be at least two more weeks before he returns to action.
“With an injury in your elbow – especially for a pitcher – you’re a lot better off to be careful than you are to try to push things,” Bruney said. “If we had pushed it, I probably would have been back in 15 days, but I wouldn’t have been 100%.”
The Yankees talked to Bruney earlier this week to tell him to be smart about his rehab, not wanting him to rush his return while the rest of the bullpen struggles.
“They told me I can’t be John Wayne and try to tough it out,” Bruney said.
If Bruney feels fine after his throwing session today, he’ll throw again on flat ground on Saturday, then repeat the exercise from a longer distance on Monday. That means he won’t test his arm off a mound for at least a week, leaving another 2-3 weeks before a realistic return.
Given how conservative the Yanks are with injuries, that means we’re looking at June 1st at this point. Bruney’s return is key to settling down the shaky bullpen. That would mean you have the 8th inning taken care of, and could patch together the 7th on most nights. The lesser bullpen arms like Edwar, Veras and Alby could then be used situationally, which is the role they are best suited for. For the Yanks to turn things around in the meantime, it looks like they’ll need to get some length out of their starters. Or have someone like Mark Melancon emerge as a reliable option.
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