Rafael Soriano out for Rays series

Updated: May 16, 2011, 10:26 AM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- After only pitching once in the last week, New York Yankees setup man Rafael Soriano has already ruled himself out of the Tampa series on Monday and Tuesday.

"I'm going to throw a bullpen [Monday] and see how I feel," Soriano said after the Yankees' fifth straight loss, a 7-5 defeat to the Red Sox on Sunday night. "If everything goes fine, I'll be ready on Wednesday."

On Wednesday, the Yankees are in Baltimore. On Monday and Tuesday, they play Soriano's former team, the Rays, in Tampa.

"It don't matter who we are going to face," said Soriano, who is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA. "Tomorrow will be better, a new day."

Thus far, Soriano seems to have trouble staying healthy. Soriano, who was signed to a three-year, $35 million deal this offseason, first came down with the elbow injury on Tuesday. He had an MRI that showed no real problem.

Soriano, who pitched a scoreless inning on Friday, has caused the Yankees to play a man down in the bullpen. While Soriano is pointing toward pitching Wednesday, the Yankees have to figure out a way to keep him consistently on the mound or put him on the DL.

"There are decisions we have to make," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who prior to Friday last put Soriano on the mound May 8th. "Hopefully, he is available to us soon."

Soriano said he doesn't think this latest elbow injury is serious. Last month, Soriano could not pitch because of a back injury.

"It has not been easy for me, because it is a new team and I haven't been able to pitch," Soriano said. "I try to do the best that I can. Right now, nothing happens because I cannot pitch. It has not been easy for me."

Soriano's unavailability has put more of an onus on the rest of the bullpen. Joba Chamberlain, after looking so good earlier in the week and clocking his fastball at 98 mph, gave up his second home run of the Red Sox series. Jarrod Saltalamacchia took Chamberlain deep in the eighth to extend Boston's lead to two runs.

"He hit it to the right part of the ballpark," Chamberlain said.

With Soriano absent, Pedro Feliciano out for the season and Boone Logan struggling, the Yankees bullpen, aside from Mariano Rivera and David Robertson, has not been as good as expected.

"We've been good," Chamberlain said. "Ask me that in 120 games and I'll answer it for you too. We have to keep pitching and getting the opportunity to go out. It is not how you start, it is how you finish and we have 120 games left."

How many will Soriano pitch in? On Friday, after his scoreless inning, his elbow felt fine, but then reported that it was "sore" on Saturday.

"Until he gets through the clear it's an issue," general manager Brian Cashman said. "Until I'm not having to ask how he feels today, it's something that's obviously going to be a concern."

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Michael Mazzeo contributed to this report.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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