Yankees prep Soriano for rehab stint
Reliever works successful 25-pitch bullpen session
TORONTO -- Right-handed reliever Rafael Soriano successfully worked through a 25-pitch batting-practice session at the Yankees' Minor League complex on Saturday, and now he'll move on to rehab games.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Soriano would likely stay in Tampa, Fla., where he'd pitch either in extended spring camp or a Minor League rehab game -- considering he came out of Saturday's session feeling good.
Soriano hasn't pitched since May 13 because of inflammation in his right elbow, and he had been throwing just BP lately.
Girardi isn't sure how many rehab games Soriano will need to pitch in before being activated from the disabled list, but the manager said recently that it would be more than one and he may need to see Soriano pitch in back-to-back contests.
David Robertson has done an admirable job in place of Soriano as the setup man. Asked if Soriano would retake the eighth-inning role he previously occupied upon returning, Girardi recently said: "Let's just see. Let's just get him back first. Let's get him healthy and get him throwing the ball the way he's capable of."
Girardi knows importance of protecting signs
TORONTO -- Over the last three days, the Blue Jays' alleged sign stealing has gone from a suspicion to an affirmation to an implication.
Yankees catcher Russell Martin said the Blue Jays' baserunners were picking up his signs on Thursday -- something he felt was well within the respected code of the game -- so he switched them in the fourth inning. Then, on Friday -- at the urging of manager Joe Girardi -- Martin used multiple signs even with no runners on base.
Prior to Saturday's contest at Rogers Centre, Girardi stopped just short of accusing the Blue Jays of taking measures outside the playing field to pick up his team's signs.
But he did talk about the need to protect them.
"Signs are coveted," Girardi said. "Anywhere that you play in the game, you have to protect your signs. Sometimes we have inclinations that things might be happening in certain ballparks. We're aware of it, and we try to protect our signs. The last thing you want [is for] a hitter to know what's coming."
Asked directly if he was accusing the Blue Jays of using electronic equipment to pick up his catcher's signs for his pitcher, Girardi said: "I'm not accusing anyone. I just said we need to protect our signs. You have to take pride in it, and you have to be smarter than other clubs when you do things, and you have to change things up."
Girardi has said it's usually the division rivals -- the teams that see you most -- that are most likely to relay signs to their own teammates, with Martin saying the Blue Jays are one of the teams known for that.
All that's fine -- relaying signs from the basepaths is as old as the game itself -- but many will agree that using electronic equipment to do so is out of bounds.
Blue Jays manager John Farrell essentially denied the notion that his club would do such a thing.
"Why that would even come about, I don't know," said Farrell, the former Red Sox pitching coach. "We play this game to compete and prepare every day, and we don't look to any other means than what takes place between the lines."
Because of the constant sign changing on Friday, Martin made several trips to the mound, which starting pitcher Freddy Garcia said might have taken him out of rhythm (though he blamed his splitter for his rough outing).
Girardi talked about the need for a catcher to be clever with his signs, so he can change them without making so many mound trips.
And Girardi said that protecting signs is always priority No. 1.
"There are ballparks that you need to protect your signs," Girardi said. "I don't really want to get into it, because I'm not 100 percent sure about anything. But we need to protect our signs."
The Phillies are one team with a reputation for stealing signs. In fact, in May of last year, bullpen coach Mick Billmeyer was caught on camera using binoculars at Coors Field, though the Phils denied he was using them to steal opposing catcher Miguel Olivo's signs.
While most teams will try to relay signs, doing so with electronic equipment is disallowed in baseball.
Farrell says that doesn't apply to his club.
"We're fighting to get back to .500 at home," Farrell said. "If there was any other reason to think otherwise, honestly, I don't know why anybody would make that remark. We prepare to go out and play the game each and every day the same way, and other than that, I don't have a comment on it."
Defensive lapses costing Yankees
TORONTO -- Whether it's rust, carelessness or a combination, the Yankees entered Saturday having committed multiple errors in consecutive games for the first time in more than a year.
The last time that happened was June 27-29 of last season, when the Yankees committed four errors in two games. In the first two games of this series against the Blue Jays, the Yanks committed five -- three on Thursday and two on Friday.
"We definitely need to play better defense, there's no doubt about it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You can't give this club extra outs. [Against] any club in the big leagues, you can't do that."
The last two games marked the fourth time since Girardi took over as skipper in 2008 that New York has had consecutive games with more than one error.
On Thursday, third baseman Eduardo Nunez and shortstop Derek Jeter booted grounders, and catcher Russell Martin threw one away. On Friday, Martin and center fielder Curtis Granderson both made errant throws.
Several misplays that didn't go down as errors were made as well, and Nunez was charged with his 12th error in 54 games this season when he threw the ball away in the third inning on Saturday.
"When you're giving runs away and things like that, it's a little frustrating," Martin said. "But it's nothing that we can't turn around."
With a 2-for-5 game in Saturday's 4-1 win over the Blue Jays, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter tied Hall of Famer Al Kaline for 26th place on the all-time hits list with 3,007. ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that infielder Eric Chavez, out with a bone bruise on his right foot, has been taking part in baseball activities but still hasn't been able to get into rehab games. Lefty reliever Damaso Marte, on the disabled list following left rotator cuff surgery, has been throwing bullpen sessions, and lefty reliever Pedro Feliciano, sidelined with a torn left rotator cuff, has begun playing catch again. ... Catching prospect Jesus Montero was activated from the seven-day disabled list in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday. In his first 71 Triple-A games, Montero is hitting .288 with seven homers and 34 RBIs.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.