April 01, 2015

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) In the first season following Derek Jeter's retirement, the Yankees have concerns about shortstop less than a week before opening day.

Four days after projected starter Didi Gregorius got hurt, backup Brendan Ryan strained his right calf in the sixth inning of New York's 3-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday and is expected to start the season on the disabled list.

New York manager Joe Girardi called it ''a longshot'' that the infielder will be ready for Monday's opener against Toronto. Ryan was scheduled for an MRI, which revealed a Grade 2 right calf strain.

Gregorius had been sidelined since spraining his left wrist diving for a grounder Saturday. Gregorius is scheduled to return Thursday, a day after performing defensive drills and hitting in an indoor cage.

''It felt great,'' Gregorius said.

Ryan was hurt going after Kevin Kiermaier's grounder up the middle. Ryan needed assistance as he limped off the field and had to be carried down the dugout steps.

Second baseman Stephen Drew could serve as a backup at his old shortstop position. Internal candidates for a reserve infield role include Nick Noonan, Rob Refsnyder and Cole Figueroa.

''Didi and Drew are healthy,'' Girardi said. ''We'll going to have to look at, probably, more of a second baseman than necessarily a shortstop because you have two shortstops.''

The Yankees also acquired minor league infielder Gregorio Petit from Houston in exchange for cash considerations, and he will report to big league camp.

Petit hit .278 with two homers and nine RBIs in 37 games last season with Houston. He has also played with Oakland (2008-09) and Houston (2014).

James Loney had three hits for the Rays, including an RBI single. Reliever Grant Balfour struck out Brett Gardner during a perfect third inning.

STARTING TIME

Rays: Minor leaguer Jordan Norberto gave up two hits and three walks over two scoreless innings. He struck out Brian McCann with two on to end the first, and got a double-play grounder from Drew in the second.

Yankees: Chase Whitley, bidding for a long man and spot starter role, allowed one run, four hits and had six strikeouts in four innings.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (left shoulder tendinitis) threw 30 pitches in his first-batting practice session. ... RHP Alex Colome (pneumonia) will throw batting practice Friday. ... LHP Jake McGee (left elbow surgery) and LHP Matt Moore (left elbow ligament replacement surgery) will both throw off a bullpen mound Friday.

Yankees: CF Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) went 0 for 3 in his first big league game in 2 1-2 weeks. He played Tuesday in a minor league game. ... 1B Mark Teixeira, hit on the right knee by a pitch in a minor league game Sunday, returned and singled in three at-bats.

TAKING THE FIFTH

As expected, Girardi said RHP Adam Warren will be his the fifth starter,

NEW ADDITION

The Rays acquired RHP Erasmo Ramirez from Seattle late Tuesday and he's expected to be on the opening-day roster. He could fill an open rotation spot with Alex Cobb (forearm tendinitis), Smyly, Moore and Colome all to miss the start of the season with injuries.

BIGTIME MATCHUP

CC Sabathia and Stephen Strasburg are the scheduled starters Friday, when the Yankees host Washington at Steinbrenner Field.

UP NEXT

Rays: Rotation members Chris Archer and Nathan Karns are both scheduled to pitch Thursday against Philadelphia. The Phillies will start RHP Jerome Williams, with closer Jonathan Papelbon also scheduled to make an appearance.

Yankees: RHP Michael Pineda will make his final spring training appearance in a split-squad game against Pittsburgh RHP A.J. Burnett. Minor leaguer Bryan Mitchell will face Tigers RHP Shane Greene in the other. ... Alex Rodriguez will make his second start at first baseman in the game with the Pirates.

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