6/4/2013 7:45 P.M. ET
Oblique barks at Nunez in BP, delaying return
By Josh Vitale and Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez has passed nearly every step in rehabbing his strained left oblique muscle. The only thing he hasn't been able to do successfully to this point is swing a bat.
Nunez sustained another setback while taking batting practice on Tuesday, meaning his return from the disabled list will have to wait.
"We thought he was ready to go again," manager Joe Girardi said. "He took swings today, and I guess he's not ready to go again. He did a bunch of drills the other day and said, 'I feel great; let's try it again.' And it didn't work."
Since Nunez was placed on the disabled list on May 12, the Yankees have had to rely on Jayson Nix and Reid Brignac at shortstop. Entering Tuesday, the two had combined for just two home runs and 20 RBIs this season. Nunez was batting .200 with four RBIs and two stolen bases before the injury.
Girardi said the best way to make sure Nunez is healthy would be to simply shut him down for two months, but the manager doesn't think it will take that long for the injury to fully heal. Nunez will go through another series of tests before attempting to swing the bat again.
"Obliques are hard," Girardi said. "They're hard muscles to heal sometimes. You can feel pretty good just doing everyday stuff, but when you have to do that rotation, it hurts. That's what he's going through."
Ichiro even with Williams on all-time hits list
NEW YORK -- Ichiro Suzuki was once spoken of as an active threat to bat .400 in a big league season, a feat that has not been accomplished since Ted Williams did it in 1941.
The Yankees may not expect Ichiro to approach that milestone, but they were able to watch on Tuesday as Ichiro matched the Splendid Splinter's all-time hits total at Yankee Stadium.
Ichiro's third-inning RBI single off the Indians' Scott Kazmir was the 2,654th hit of his big league career, tying Williams for 72nd place on the all-time hits list.
Williams assembled his total with the Red Sox from 1939-60, losing three years of his career to military service during World War II. Ichiro's total is also lower than it theoretically could have been; while playing in Japan, he amassed 1,278 hits that are not counted toward his Major League total.
The next names on the all-time hits list are George Davis and Harry Heilmann, who are tied for 70th with 2,660 big league hits apiece.
Clean session has Pineda set for rehab stint
NEW YORK -- It's been nearly a year and a half since the Yankees acquired Michael Pineda from the Mariners, and in that time, the big right-hander has pitched no regular-season innings for New York or any of its Minor League affiliates.
On Saturday, he'll throw his first. Pineda is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Tampa after throwing 65 pitches in an extended spring game on Monday without incident.
The Yankees have a 30-day window during which they can evaluate Pineda's recovery from a torn labrum in his right shoulder.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team will measure Pineda's performance against its pitchers in the Majors and at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, then make a decision as to whether to call him up or option him to the Minors after his rehab window closes.
"Now he'll be competing with everything that's [involved with] taking the ball every five days up here," Cashman said. "By the fourth, fifth and sixth rehab start, we'll be able to compare him to what we have there versus what we have here and slot him accordingly."
The Yankees' rotation in both the Bronx and at Scranton are deep and successful, so the organization doesn't have much reason to accelerate Pineda's rehab. CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes are all locked into rotation spots, and the Yankees have plenty of other options, including Tuesday's starter, David Phelps, and current RailRiders Ivan Nova, Vidal Nuno and Chien-Ming Wang.
Cashman said Pineda's velocity has been sitting in the low 90s during his rehab, and he topped out at 94 mph during his extended spring appearance on Monday. Pineda topped out at 98 mph when he pitched for Seattle in 2011.
But Pineda is completely healthy, and Cashman said the team has no plans to convert him to a relief role. The Yankees intend to use him as a starter.
The only question is at which level.
"If he's better than anything we have up here, he'll come here," Cashman said. "If we don't think he's better than what we've got, he'll go to Triple-A."
Yanks not afraid to try Overbay in outfield
NEW YORK -- Before making his first career start in the outfield on Monday night against the Indians, Lyle Overbay wanted to make sure that he, center fielder Brett Gardner and second baseman Robinson Cano were all on the same page, so he came up with a few things that he thought might make his transition to right field a smooth one.
"I said, '[Gardner's] got everything to my right and left, and behind me,'" Overbay said, laughing. "'And Robbie's got everything in front of me.'"
Turns out Overbay didn't need the help, though. His first appearance in the outfield went as smoothly as could have been expected. He fielded a double in the gap, ran down and nearly made plays on two foul balls and caught an inning-ending flyout to end a bases-loaded threat.
"I survived," Overbay said. "I wanted to get that first one out of the way ... maybe when it was nobody out and nobody on instead of bases loaded and two outs in a tied game, but it worked out."
Gardner said Overbay "did great" in his first start in the outfield. Overbay started in right field again on Tuesday, and manager Joe Girardi said he's comfortable with starting Overbay there a few days at a time to keep him in a rhythm.
Tuesday's start should be a little easier for Overbay, too. After borrowing an extra outfielder's glove from reliever Boone Logan on Monday, Overbay used his own glove on Tuesday -- the same one he used when making 30 starts in the outfield during his Minor League days.
Now all the career first baseman has to do is find someone to talk to.
"It's kind of weird -- you're kind of walking around, seeing if anybody wants to talk," Overbay said. "But they're too far away."
• With Cano serving as the designated hitter on Tuesday, David Adams made his first career start at second base after making all of his previous appearances with the Yankees at third. Adams was a second baseman by trade in the Minors.
"That's his original position, so I would think that he would be more comfortable there than he probably is at third base," Girardi said. "I think he's done a decent job for us at third base."
• Left-handed reliever Clay Rapada was granted his release on Tuesday. He had a 4.66 ERA in 10 appearances at Triple-A this season.
Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.