02/25/11 4:30 PM EST
Groin injury sidelines Yanks' Brackman
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The 6-foot-10 right-hander is not scheduled to throw another bullpen session until Tuesday, and he'll be unavailable for the club's first few Grapefruit League exhibitions.
"We're just going to sit him out three days and see where he's at," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He doesn't necessarily feel it when he's doing his exercises or when he's throwing -- his strength is great.
"But he complained after he shut it down, so we thought the right thing to do was to shut him down for three days, get some treatment, and see where he's at."
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Brackman, 25, had impressed team officials by showcasing cleaner mechanics and better command of his pitches during early bullpen and live batting-practice sessions.
"This seems to be very, very minor," Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "It's really more precautionary more than anything else. I'm keeping an eye on that. I'm well aware. I want to keep the momentum going with him, because they've done a nice job getting him to this point and we just really want to keep it going."
A first-round selection of the Yankees in 2007, Brackman is a long-shot contender for a spot at the unsecured back end of the Yankees' rotation. He made it as far as Double-A Trenton last year, where he was 5-7 with a 3.01 ERA in 15 games (14 starts).
Brackman began last season at Class A Tampa, where he was 5-4 with a 5.10 ERA in 12 starts.
"It's not going to hurt me," Brackman told the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger. "But it couldn't be a worse time."
Prior showing signs that comeback has legs
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mark Prior has become something of a curiosity around Yankees camp, as the right-hander attempts to find out if he has enough left to author a terrific comeback story.
Prior pitched live batting practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field on Friday morning, showcasing what manager Joe Girardi guessed was a fastball around 90 mph, and the Yankees are eager to see what Prior shows under game conditions.
"There's a lot of guys that have injuries and have been sidetracked," said Prior, who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2006. "Obviously the game is, 'What have you done lately?' so it's easy to get lost in the shuffle. Sometimes it's kind of nice to get off the grid and focus on what you have to do to get back."
A standout starter with the Cubs before his promising career was wrecked by arm and shoulder injuries, Prior is honest when he says that he isn't sure what his chances of making the team are. Neither are the Yankees.
"Time is going to tell how different he is," Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "It doesn't look like he's significantly different, but he's going to go through all the paces and stay healthy. That's going to be the biggest thing. We're not going to know a lot until we get to games. It's not going to happen overnight."
Girardi said that he thought Prior looked better as Friday's batting practice went on, as he got the ball down and was snapping his curveball for strikes. Considering Prior's history, Girardi said he has been "pleasantly surprised" by what he has seen.
"I think he understands that there's a lot of work to be done on his part," Girardi said. "He has to prove that he can stay healthy and have a good camp. As an organization, you know that you're going to go through a lot of pitchers over the course of a season. And if the opportunity is not when we break [camp], it could be later on."
After his unlikely path took him to the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden Baseball League last year, setting up one Triple-A appearance in the Rangers' system, Prior would be ecstatic if his next stop was somehow the bullpen at Yankee Stadium.
"It's pretty safe to say that I'll never be a front-end rotation guy where I'm asked for 120, 130 pitches a game and 200-plus innings," Prior said. "I don't want to say that I'll never start again or be a No. 4 or No. 5 kind of guy. I think right now, in my situation, relieving is in my best interests."
Russell Martin will appear in an exhibition game as a designated hitter before he catches. Martin still feels slight discomfort in his right knee, on which he had surgery to repair a torn meniscus. ... Manager Joe Girardi confirmed that Rafael Soriano will not appear in the first week of exhibition games. Soriano made only four Grapefruit League appearances last year for the Rays and believes the lighter program works for him. ... The Yankees plan to start all of their regulars in their Grapefruit League opener against the Phillies on Saturday except for Martin. Francisco Cervelli will catch for New York, and the 1:05 p.m. ET game can be watched live on MLB.TV. ... Jesus Montero is set to catch on Sunday against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.