Notes: Ailing Cabrera a late scratch
Outfielder battling flu symptoms; Damon starts in center
ST. PETERSBURG -- Melky Cabrera spent most of the day laying on a table inside the training room at Tropicana Field and trying to deal with a nasty set of flu-like symptoms on Saturday afternoon.
The Yankees' center fielder was a late scratch from the lineup and replaced in the field by Johnny Damon, who was slated to hit leadoff.
"I haven't really seen him, and from what I hear, I don't want to," Yankees manager Joe Torre chuckled before the game. "He may be [available] ... We'll see how he recovers from all the stuff the trainer's given him."
On Friday, he went 1-for-5 to extend his career-high hitting streak to 10 games. The switch-hitter's .275 average (75-for-273) was fifth-best on the team heading into Saturday's matchup against the Rays. He had 10 hits in his last 28 at-bats (.357), and 17 in his last 44 (.386).
Cabrera's absence shrunk New York's available bench to two -- Wil Nieves and Miguel Cairo.
"Thank goodness we're in our league," Torre quipped. "It's easier to play with three guys on the bench in the National League. But again, we don't have guys we really would pinch-hit for, so the only time [the short bench] is a concern is if somebody gets hurt."
Myers' mishap: Reliever Mike Myers continues to work with his breaking ball and has made progress, but perhaps not quite as much as he'd like. The left-hander lasted 1/3 of an inning on Friday, and punched out Tampa Bay's Akinori Iwamura, then allowed Carl Crawford's double before getting the hook. Myers threw nine pitches in the outing and was charged with an earned run.
Torre had empathy for the 38-year-old's struggle, and was optimistic things would fall back into place soon.
"He's been fiddling out there, trying to get comfortable and trying to get a good angle on his breaking ball," Torre said. "He's tinkering, and just trying to get comfortable, and I know it's frustrating for him."
Come again? Torre mentioned at the beginning of the four-game series that the Yankees would probably, in the next day or two, whittle down its 13 pitchers. He added that general manager Brian Cashman had been in contact with organizations, but had no further updates on Friday night.
"Cashman's been talking to a lot of teams," Torre said. "We're probably going to stay like this, at least for a little bit until we see if we're going to do something."
Comeback trail: Phil Hughes worked three shutout innings and fanned six along the way for Double-A Trenton on Friday night. The 21-year-old righty was "very pleased" with his second rehab start, and noted that he felt much better command of his fastball than during his first start, at Class A Tampa.
Torre was encouraged with the update he received from Cashman, who was in attendance at Trenton on Friday night, but said he didn't want to rush the youngster.
"[Cashman] could tell it was still really early," Torre said. "Not to say he wasn't good, but from the standing that we're not wondering if we can bring him up now. It's a progression thing."
Quick hits: Darrell Rasner played long toss before Saturday's contest. ... Catcher Jorge Posada will have a scheduled day off on Sunday. meaning Nieves will fill in behind the plate. ... Thursday's homer by Alex Rodriguez marked the third baseman's 150th with the Yankees, achieved in just 557 games. The only players to hit the mark in fewer games were Babe Ruth (411) and Roger Maris (508). ... A-Rod is also the first player since Mickey Mantle (1956) to lead the Majors in runs (79), homers (30) and RBIs (86) at the All-Star break.
Down on the farm: Shelley Duncan and Justin Christian combined to drive in three runs in the 10th inning of Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre's 5-2 win over Louisville on Saturday. ... Double-A Trenton's 11-game win streak came to a halt in a 10-inning, 6-5 loss to New Hampshire on Friday, despite a four-RBI night from Juan Miranda. ... Class A Charleston suffered a 3-1 loss to Columbus that snapped the RiverDogs' five-game win streak.
Up next: The Yankees conclude the four-game set at Tampa Bay with a Sunday matinee. Righty Mike Mussina (4-6, 4.62 ERA) will get the ball for New York, and he'll face off against Edwin Jackson (1-9, 7.23). First pitch is set for 1:40 p.m. ET.
Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.