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Park could return to Yanks on Sunday

Chan Ho Park could return to the Yankees' bullpen as early as Sunday, provided a scheduled relief appearance in Scranton goes well on Friday.

Park, out since April 16 with a strain of the right hamstring, threw an inning in an extended spring training game Wednesday in Tampa, and according to manager Joe Girardi, struck out three and allowed one hit.

"I understand he threw well," Girardi said.

Park's absence has been felt in a bullpen stretched thin lately and especially in need of reliable right-handed arms now that Alfredo Aceves is on the disabled list with a lower back injury. Before his injury, Park had compiled a 1-1 record in six appearances with a 4.76 ERA.

"He could possibly pitch on Sunday," Girardi said, a day in which he is likely to need Sergio Mitre as an emergency starter because of having to use two starting pitchers in Wednesday's doubleheader after Tuesday's rainout.

"That's probably the way we are leaning," Girardi said of Mitre, who started and took the loss in Monday's series opener with the Tigers.

The news on Park was the best injury report the Yankees could muster before Thursday's game with the Tigers. Girardi said Curtis Granderson, out since May 2 with a left groin strain, "hasn't really started doing anything yet," and won't be ready to return until the end of the month at the earliest, and only after an unspecified number of rehab starts in the minors.

"He feels pretty good, and maybe he'll start moving around a little bit when we get back [to New York]," Girardi said. "It could take a while, or it could be quick. It all depends on how that groin feels. If he's got anything tugging at him when he makes a sudden movement, the only way you're gonna find that out is when he's in a game."

Nick Swisher, who left Wednesday's nightcap with some soreness in his left bicep, was not in the lineup Thursday and was not expected to be available to pinch-hit, either. Aceves was in New York for tests and an examination by a doctor; his prognosis was unknown.

And no one is even asking about Nick Johnson, who has been on the 15-day DL since May 8 with an inflamed right wrist tendon.

But the fact that the Yankees recalled Juan Miranda, a 27-year-old Cuban defector who plays first base, indicates Johnson is not anywhere near close to returning.

"He kinda gives us the Nick Johnson option," Girardi said of Miranda. "He swings the bat and can also play first base, which gives us the ability to DH [Mark Teixeira]. He's a guy we think can help us."

Girardi penciled Miranda in Thursday's starting lineup as the No. 7 hitter and first baseman while Teixeira got a DH day. In his first at-bat, Miranda flied out to center off Justin Verlander in the second inning.

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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