Sore ribs finally landed Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez on the disabled list Sunday, forcing the team to select the contract of Alberto Gonzalez from Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre.
Nunez has been trying to deal with soreness on his left side for a while, and even hit in the batting cage when the team arrive in Kansas City. But he didn't progress to the point where he could play, instead becoming the 12th player to land on the Yankees' DL this season.
"Instead of trying to test it every day to see where he's at, we're just going to give him three, four, five days, maybe try to get him swinging early next week, in the middle sometime," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "If he feels like he's ready, we'll try to get him out on some rehab games. It just wasn't where we wanted and we felt like we couldn't go any longer."
The Yankees have been playing with a short bench while waiting for Nunez to come around for about a week. His move to the DL was backdated to May 6.
"I feel better every day," said Nunez, who was hitting .200 in 27 games primarily in place of injured shortstop Derek Jeter. "It's better every day, but slow."
Gonzalez was acquired from the Chicago Cubs late Thursday for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The Yankees cleared space for him on the 40-man roster by transferring first baseman Mark Teixeira to the 60-day disabled list.
Gonzalez was hitting .217 in 11 games for the Cubs, and is familiar to the Yankees, having made his big league debut for them during the 2007 season. He was traded to Washington in 2008.
"He's a very good defender," Girardi said. "He's a guy who can do some things with the bat and we're happy to have him."
The decision to put Nunez on the DL on Sunday wasn't he only bit of injury news for the banged-up Yankees, who are already closing in on the number of stints they had all of last season.
Right-hander Ivan Nova, who is already on the DL with inflammation in his right triceps, experienced soreness in his ribs while playing toss on Sunday morning. That's forced Girardi to scrap his plan of pitching him in Monday's doubleheader at Cleveland.
Girardi had just received word of the irritation from the Yankees' medical staff, and wasn't sure whether Nova would undergo any sort of tests on his left side.
David Phelps will pitch the opener against the Indians, and Girardi said left-hander Vidal Nuno or right-hander Adam Warren could pitch Game 2. But that depends on whether the relievers are needed against the Royals are even in the opener in Cleveland, and Girardi didn't rule out having a starter from Triple-A stashed away at a nearby hotel in case he's needed Monday.
Girardi did say that pitching CC Sabathia on short rest was not an option.
"I don't want to say yet," Girardi said. "I think we have a plan, but I want to wait `till tomorrow, because there are a lot of things that could happen."