6/21/2013 10:46 P.M. ET
Granderson has pin removed, will start gripping bat
Progressing in rehab from fractured left pinkie, outfielder visits Yankees
By David Wilson, Josh Vitale and Chris Iseman / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson joined the Yankees in the clubhouse and on the field during batting practice before Friday's game against the Rays. The injured outfielder had a pin removed from his hand on Thursday as he continues to recover from a fractured left pinkie he sustained on May 25.
Granderson got hit by a pitch from Rays reliever Cesar Ramos in May, just three months after breaking his right forearm while being hit by a pitch from Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ in Granderson's first at-bat of the spring. In all, Granderson has played just eight games and made 31 plate appearances.
"It's been interesting across the board," Granderson said. "Something good happens, something bad kind of happens, but the main thing, and I talked to [fellow outfielder Brett] Gardner on the way in, it could be way worse in the grand scheme of things."
Granderson will now start gripping a bat. He's feeling better.
"No pain, no soreness," the outfielder said.
The next step in rehab will be in the pool, where Granderson will swing a smaller object similar to a bat before moving on to a one-handed bat, and ultimately, a larger bat. Then he'll start taking some dry swings and tee toss.
"Once we get that going," Granderson said, "things should hopefully go relatively quickly."
The veteran has been doing lower-body lifting, but until now hasn't been able to do anything with his upper body. Granderson said, however, that he could probably start now.
Granderson had lunch with general manager Brian Cashman on Friday, too. He'll lift again in New York before heading back down to Tampa, Fla., in the next few days to continue his rehab.
Nova to return from Minors to start Sunday
NEW YORK -- After three stellar starts for Triple-A Scranton, Ivan Nova is returning to the Yankees' rotation.
Nova was scratched from his scheduled start for the RailRiders on Friday, and the right-hander will pitch for the Bombers in Sunday's series finale against the Rays.
"That is our plan, as of right now," manager Joe Girardi said after Friday's 6-2 win over Tampa Bay.
Phil Hughes would have likely been slated to pitch the finale against the Rays, but his Tuesday start against the Dodgers was postponed until Wednesday's doubleheader, meaning he and Hiroki Kuroda would only be on three days' rest.
Nova is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA in three starts for Scranton, allowing just 15 hits over 15 2/3 innings while striking out 17. He was 2-1 with a 5.12 ERA in six starts with the Yankees earlier this season.
Girardi said before Friday's game that Nova was fully stretched out as a starter again.
"He's been pretty good. He's had some decent outings," Girardi said. "At times he's been dominating down there, and at times he's lost the zone a little bit. But his stuff's been pretty good."
Yankees designate Brignac, recall Gonzalez
NEW YORK -- Looking for an offensive upgrade off the bench, the Yankees called up infielder Alberto Gonzalez from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and designated Reid Brignac for assignment.
Manager Joe Girardi said Brignac's struggles at the plate led to the move. Brignac went 5-for-44 (.114) in 17 games with the Yankees. In the field, he platooned with Jayson Nix at shortstop.
Gonzalez was hitting .224 with eight RBIs in 23 games for Scranton.
"Hopefully he'll bring some offense - a little bit more offense," Girardi said. "He's a shortstop that can play anywhere, so that gives us some freedom."
This is Gonzalez's second stint of the season with the Yankees after he played in three games with the team in mid-May. He went 3-for-9 in that stretch.
Gonzalez began the season with the Cubs before they designated him for assignment. The Yankees then acquired him from Chicago for future considerations.
Girardi said Gonzalez will be used as a utility infielder for the Yankees, with Nix starting at shortstop and David Adams continuing to start at third base.
Yanks land utility man Lillibridge in deal with Cubs
NEW YORK -- The Yankees acquired utility man Brent Lillibridge from the Cubs on Friday in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations.
A career .207 hitter, Lillibridge played in just eight games with Chicago this season, going 1-for-24. This season, he's played second and third base, but he's played every position except catcher in his big league career.
Lillibridge was with Triple-A Iowa at the time of the deal, where he batted .281 with five home runs in 48 games.
New York has been searching for depth on the left side of its infield all season with Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez both out until after the All-Star break. The Yankees designated shortstop Reid Brignac on Friday and recalled infielder Alberto Gonzalez. Manager Joe Girardi said Gonzalez will be used as a utility man, while Jayson Nix will be the everyday shortstop and David Adams the everyday third baseman.
• On Thursday, Zoilo Almonte picked up his first career hit. On Friday, he made his first big league start. The outfielder got the nod in left field and batted sixth against the Rays.
• The Yankees added two pitchers to Triple-A Scranton, signing left-handed reliever Mike Zagurski and acquiring right-hander Yoshinori Tateyama from the Rangers for future considerations. Zagurski has allowed 10 runs in six innings for the Pirates this season, and Tateyama owns a 5.75 ERA in 61 career innings with Texas.
• The Yankees have agreed to a Minor League deal with outfielder Corey Patterson and assigned him to Scranton. Patterson was batting .175 with a home run and eight RBIs over 19 games with Seattle's Triple-A affiliate. He last played in the Majors in 2011 for St. Louis.
David Wilson, Josh Vitale and Chris Iseman are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.