8/11/2013 5:33 P.M. ET
With desire to return, Youk has eye on timetable
By Bryan Hoch and Josh Vitale / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Yankees have been able to write Kevin Youkilis' name in the lineup just 28 times this year, but the rehabbing third baseman is hopeful that he will be able to return to the field at some point.
"You hope that you can get everything right," Youkilis said on Sunday. "The thing about the back is there's no timetable. The surgery that's done on it, it's different for everybody in different ways. Guys can come back."
Youkilis had surgery to correct a herniated disk on June 20. Dr. Robert Watkins performed the procedure, and Youkilis said that he was told by Watkins that the fastest he could return would be 12 weeks.
Having just hit the seven-week checkpoint, Youkilis said he would need to start dry swings of the bat between weeks eight and 10 to have a chance of playing again this season. He is continuing to rehab in New York after spending time in California immediately following the surgery.
"I hope I'd be one of the quickest," Youkilis said. "You've also got to know what your body is saying and doing. We hope that we can come back and play this year at some point, but you've also got to go through all the progressions first. That's what I'm doing, going off their evaluations."
The Yankees signed Youkilis to a one-year, $12 million contract in December, hoping he would hold down third base while Alex Rodriguez rehabbed from left hip surgery. Youkilis has batted .219 (23-for-105) with two homers and eight RBIs in a Yankees uniform.
Soriano reaches 2,000 hits in style with blast
NEW YORK -- Alfonso Soriano's first career hit was a home run at the old Yankee Stadium. His 2,000th hit was a home run at the new Yankee Stadium.
Leading off the fourth inning against the Tigers in Sunday's 5-4 walk-off win, Soriano took the first pitch he saw from Tigers starter Justin Verlander and belted a solo home run, becoming the 16th active player to reach the 2,000 career hit mark.
"It's nice to get it out of the way," Soriano said after the game. "So now I'll feel more comfortable at the plate. I don't have to think about it, getting my 2,000th hit. I'm very happy."
Soriano had said that he was feeling "a little lost" at the plate recently; he was 0-for-9 with six strikeouts in the Yankees' first two games against the Tigers this weekend, and he said that he has to be more selective at the plate.
"It's hard to not think about it, but I know," Soriano said. "Sooner or later, I want to get the hit. When I get the hit, I know I'll feel more loose at home plate."
Before Sunday's game, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he was looking forward to Soriano sending his 2,000th hit into the rear-view mirror.
"I've talked about it all the time, I hate milestones," Girardi said. "Because they're talked about every day -- and not just here, sometimes at home. [Players] start to feel the anxiety of getting through it."
Soriano batted .200 (10-for-50) with two home runs and seven RBIs in his first 13 games after rejoining the Yankees in a July 26 trade with the Cubs, and he said that he is still working on getting adjusted.
"It's a little different now," Soriano said. "I used to play here in the American League, but most of the pitchers that I faced are not there anymore. These pitchers are new. I have to make adjustments, swing at strikes and be more selective at home plate."
Soriano said that he has enjoyed hitting in the heart of the Yankees' lineup, as he was accustomed to in Chicago, and is getting used to being surrounded with a different cast of players than the team he remembers leaving after the 2003 season.
"It's not the same, but it's a lot of talent on this team," Soriano said. "I believe in those young guys. They can do the job. If you're here in the big leagues, you're here for one reason. You have the talent to be in the big leagues."
Needing fresh arm, Yanks promote Betances
NEW YORK -- The Yankees' bullpen threw 84 pitches on Wednesday, 56 pitches on Friday and 88 more on Saturday. So on Sunday, New York called up an extra arm.
The Yankees recalled reliever Dellin Betances from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optioned infielder David Adams to Triple-A, giving them a fresh arm in the bullpen for Sunday's series finale against the Tigers.
"We just feel we need pitching," manager Joe Girardi said. "Our whole bullpen has been used a lot. We didn't feel we have a lot of distance down there today, and so we felt we needed someone."
Betances was 6-4 with a 2.97 ERA, 88 strikeouts and four saves over 72 2/3 innings with the RailRiders this season. Adams batted .194 with two home runs and 11 RBIs over two stints in the Majors this season.
Though he started six games to begin the season, the 25-year-old Betances was moved to the bullpen in May and has thrived in that role, posting a 1.63 ERA in relief. Pitching two or three days at a time rather than pitching every five days has allowed him get on the mound more and build consistency and confidence, he said.
"I'm more aggressive coming out of the bullpen," Betances. "You kind of attack the strike zone right away. When you start, you kind of gradually get aggressive as the game goes on. It's one of those things where you have to come in and give whatever you have that day."
Girardi said he could use Betances in either a long- or short-relief role, depending on when he needs him.
The Brooklyn, N.Y., native hasn't pitched in the Majors since making two appearances for the team in 2011, when he allowed two runs on one hit over 2 2/3 innings. He missed part of the '12 season after suffering a right shoulder injury.
"Last year was tough, so to be here now -- I'm honored to be here," Betances said. "I'm thrilled to just come out here. Whatever situation I need to be used in, I'm ready for that."
• The Yankees are 20-36 this year in games when they do not homer, after going 7-24 in such contests last year. Their 56 homerless games thus far entering play Sunday are the team's most since 1997 (64).
• On this date in 1929, Babe Ruth hit his 500th career home run off the Indians' Willis Hudlin at Cleveland's League Park in a 6-5 Yankees loss. On this date in 1980, Reggie Jackson hit career homer No. 400 off the White Sox's Britt Burns in a 3-1 Yankees win.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.