Feliciano close to appearing in minor league rehab games

Via Erik Boland, indications are that left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano will begin a minor league rehab assignment this Friday with the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League Yankees. “He might become someone who’s available to us (this season) … We’ll have to see,” said Brian Cashman.

Feliciano, 35, had surgery to repair a torn capsule and rotator cuff in his shoulder last September. He’s yet to throw a meaningful pitch for the Yankees since signing a two-year, $8M contract prior to last season. Feliciano started throwing full bullpen sessions in late-June and has been facing hitters in live batting practice sessions for the last few weeks according to Boland. Assuming he comes through the minor league rehab assignment well — a massive, huge, gigantic if — he’d be a nice add as the third lefty specialist when the rosters expand in September.

Injury Updates: Gardner, Joba, Banuelos

Injury updates? Injury updates!…

  • Brett Gardner (elbow) will take dry swings at some point this weekend, his first time doing any sort of serious baseball activity since suffering his second setback. If all goes well during his latest rehab attempt, he’s expected back at the end of the month. [George King]
  • Joba Chamberlain (elbow, ankle) faced six batters during a 25-pitch simulated game this morning. He struck out three, walked one, and allowed a hit. He and the team will get together to discuss the next step, which could be a minor league rehab game. [Mark Didtler]
  • Austin Romine (back) caught Joba today. Two days ago we heard that he still a few weeks away from returning to game action. [Didtler]
  • David Aardsma (elbow) has not resumed throwing and is still awaiting test results after feeling pain in his surgically repaired right elbow about a week ago. [Didtler]
  • Pedro Feliciano (shoulder) continues to throw bullpen sessions and figures to begin facing hitters in live batting practice at some point soon. [Didtler]
  • Manny Banuelos (elbow) has been throwing in Tampa for a few weeks now according to Dellin Betances. The two are close friends. Still no timetable for Manny’s return, however. [Josh Norris]

Injury Updates: CC, Feliciano, Nunez, Aardsma

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

Two days ago we learned that Joba Chamberlain is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment within two weeks. Here are some more injury updates courtesy of Chad Jennings and George King

  • CC Sabathia (groin) played catch prior to last night’s game and will throw a bullpen session — his first since going on the DL — on Friday. The team still expects him back right after next week’s All-Star break.
  • Pedro Feliciano (shoulder) threw a bullpen session in front of the braintrust yesterday. He’s currently throwing every three days but the plan is to bump him up to every other day at some point. Joe Girardi said there’s a legitimate chance the southpaw will help the team this season, but I wouldn’t count on it. Anything they get out of him is gravy.
  • Eduardo Nunez (thumb) is on the Triple-A disabled list and has just started taking batting practice. “He hopes to play in a couple of weeks or so,” said Girardi.
  • David Aardsma (elbow) went for various test following his recent setback, but the results aren’t available yet.

Feliciano throws 25 pitches in first full bullpen session since surgery

Via Erik Boland, forgotten left-hander Pedro Feliciano threw 25 pitches in Tampa today, his first full-mound session since having surgery to repair his rotator cuff last September. The 35-year-old still has a long way to go in his rehab and really the Yankees shouldn’t count on him to contribute anything this year. If he gets healthy in time to serve as a third lefty specialist when the rosters expand in September, great. Whatever they get is gravy, if anything.

Injury News: Joba, Aardsma, Romine, Feliciano

Got a quartet of injury updates courtesy of Erik Boland and various NY Post reporters

  • Joba Chamberlain (ankle, elbow) will throw live batting practice on Monday, his first time facing hitters as part of his rehab. Brian Cashman wouldn’t put an exact date on it, but he expects that the right-hander ““will help us” this season. In other news, Joba got rear-ended on the way to the Tampa complex yesterday but is fine.
  • David Aardsma (elbow) will appear in his second minor league rehab game tomorrow, and Cashman confirmed that if “everything goes all right, in 31, 32 days, he’ll join us.” Aardsma’s 30-day rehab clock started earlier this week, putting him on target for a return shortly after the All-Star break.
  • Austin Romine (back) has been playing catch and hitting off a tee in Tampa. “Assuming there are no setbacks,” he will play this year according to Cashman. A few weeks ago we heard that a July return was in the cards.
  • Pedro Feliciano (shoulder) will throw off a half-mound today and a full mound on Tuesday. He expects to pitch this season but I wouldn’t count on it. Maybe he gets healthy in time to serve as a third lefty reliever during the expanded rosters in September, but anything they get out of him is gravy.

Procedural Note: Pitchers can now be placed on 60-day DL

Via Alex Speier, today is the first day pitchers can be placed on the 60-day DL. The Red Sox stuck Bobby Jenks on the 60-day today to make room for Chris Carpenter, who they acquired from the Cubs as compensation for Theo Epstein. Not that Chris Carpenter, the one the Yankees drafted and didn’t sign back in 2007. I assume today’s date applies for all teams; I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t.

Anyway, this is noteworthy because the Yankees have a full 40-man roster following the Raul Ibanez signing, though they have two candidates for the 60-day DL: Joba Chamberlain and Pedro Feliciano. If they were to sign Eric Chavez or anyone else to a big league deal, they won’t have to remove someone from the roster just yet. This buys guys like Chris Dickerson, Justin Maxwell, and Brad Meyers some more time with the team, which is always a good thing.

What Went Wrong: Pedro Feliciano

Nope. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The Yankees have been searching for a quality left-handed reliever since letting Mike Stanton walk after the 2002 season, and that search led them to Pedro Feliciano last offseason. They inked the former Met to a two-year contract worth $8M in mid-December, in part because he a bonafide relief workhorse. He’d proven to be very effective against lefties and unusable against righties, making him the quintessential lefty specialist.

Feliciano, now 35, struck out six batters in his four Spring Training innings, and that was it. We never saw him again. On March 18th, we got word that he was dealing with a dead arm and the team was giving him extra rest as a precaution. Less than two weeks later the dead arm had turned into some kind of triceps problem, a problem that would cause him to open the season on the disabled list. Two days later it was being described as “soreness in a muscle behind his left shoulder,” and the team shut him down for ten days.

The ten days came and went, and doctors had to push Feliciano’s time table back about a week because he wasn’t ready yet. On April 12th, when he finally did get on a mound to start throwing, the southpaw suffered a setback and was sent for an MRI. “He was abused,” said Brian Cashman shortly thereafter, referring to Feliciano’s league leading games pitched totals with the Mets from 2008-2010. The MRI revealed a torn shoulder capsule, the same injury Chien-Ming Wang suffered in mid-2009, but surgery was put off after Dr. James Andrews advised a conservative treatment program that consisted of six-week shoulder strengthening routine. Feliciano was also undergoing platelet-rich plasma treatment as well.

Six weeks after Dr. Andrews’ recommendation, he was ready to start a throwing program on June 1st. Feliciano made 30 soft tosses on that date, and he continued building up to the point where he was ready to being throwing to hitters in early-August. A few weeks later, on August 25th, he made his first rehab appearance, striking out one in one perfect inning for the Rookie Level GCL Yankees. He never made another one. Exactly two weeks after the rehab outing, Feliciano underwent surgery to repair damage to his rotator cuff, a serious procedure that will likely keep him on the shelf for all of 2012.

Between Feliciano, Damaso Marte, and Kei Igawa, the Yankees had three $4M-a-year left-handers on their payroll that were completely unusable in 2011. The reason the Yankees went out and signed Feliciano in the first place was because Marte was recovering from his own shoulder surgery, so they ended up right back where they started, just with less money in their pocket. Cashman’s comments about Feliciano being abused came off as whiny more than anything, because anyone with internet access could go to Baseball-Reference.com and look up how much the guy had pitched the last few years.

The Yankees knew the risk involved with signing an older, heavily worked relief pitcher to a multi-year contract, but they took the chance anyway and got burned again. Early reports from this offseason indicate that the team is again looking to add a reliable left-handed reliever to their bullpen, this time to replace the injured Feliciano who was replacing the injured Marte who was replacing the awful Billy Traber. It’s highly unlikely that Feliciano will ever throw a pitch in pinstripes, rendering him a completely sunk cost.