Yankees setup man Rafael Soriano has an inflamed ligament in his right elbow that could keep the former All-Star out up to two months, depriving manager Joe Girardi of his main bridge to Mariano Rivera.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Soriano was examined Wednesday by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. Andrews recommended that Soriano rest the elbow for about two weeks before beginning a light throwing program.
Cashman doesn't think Soriano will be able to face hitters for at least six weeks.
"It's concerning that he's got a problem right now," Cashman said after the Yankees' 7-3 victory over Toronto. "It's not good when you have pitchers having swollen ligaments."
Soriano signed a three-year, $35-million US deal with New York in the off-season to handle the eighth inning, but he struggled while adapting to the new role. He was 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in 16 appearances before the injury landed him on the disabled list May 17.
Soriano has undergone several MRI exams in an attempt to diagnose the injury, including one on Tuesday, the day after he reported pain in the elbow during a throwing session.
The ligament is the same one that Andrews repaired with Tommy John surgery in 2004.
Soriano also spent time on the disabled list in 2008 while with the Atlanta Braves before more elbow surgery that August. He had his best season last year closing for Tampa Bay.
"He's got, obviously, a real issue," Cashman said. "It's something we have to take care of, we have to be careful with, and if it's taken care of properly, it'll be behind him."
The Yankees added some depth to their relievers Wednesday by claiming Kanekoa Texeira off waivers and optioning him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yankees lost Texeira in the Rule 5 draft to Seattle, and he's spent parts of the past two seasons with Kansas City.
Texeira is 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA in 49 relief appearances in the major leagues.
New York transferred Phil Hughes to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Texeira on their 40-man roster. The decision is mostly a housekeeping move for Hughes, who hasn't pitched since April 14 after experiencing a lack of velocity in his first three starts.
"That will take him to about June 14," Cashman said. "He won't be back by June 14, so it's more of an administrative roster move."