By Matt Snyder
Tuesday, Yankees relief pitcher Rafael Soriano was shut down when he felt soreness in a bullpen session that was supposed to be the beginning of his rehab program from inflammation in his throwing elbow. He went to get an MRI and then visited Dr. James Andrews, so many feared -- or simply assumed -- that he was headed to season-ending surgery.
Instead, Soriano's 2011 season still has a shot to continue. There's an inflamed ligament in his right elbow, but he's going to rest the arm completely for two weeks before trying to pitch again. He won't be facing hitters for four to six weeks, meaning he isn't expected back until after the All-Star break -- and that's at the earliest.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the Yankees are counting on Soriano to give them "championship-caliber innings" and that "he's not healthy and we have to get him healthy." (Kim Jones of YES via Twitter)
Soriano has had a dreadful start to his Yankees career. After being one of the most dominant closers in baseball last season for the Rays, Soriano inked a three-year, $35 million contract that Cashman didn't even want to offer (ownership went over his head). Soriano's gone out and put up a 5.40 ERA and 1.73 WHIP in 16 games, drawing the ire of New York fans and media alike for his lack of production in addition to what's perceived as an indifferent attitude.
It looks like he might have a chance to turn things around this season, but he's not near out of the woods. We'll see what happens in a few weeks when he tries to throw again.
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