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Thursday, April 4, 2013
Hiroki Kuroda will throw in bullpen

By Matt Ehalt
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda will throw a bullpen session Friday that will allow the veteran to test his injured finger and better judge whether he can make his next scheduled start, at Cleveland on Monday.

Kuroda suffered a contusion after taking a ball off the middle finger of his right hand in Wednesday's loss to Boston. X-rays were negative.

"The bottom line is I'm going to try to make my next start," Kuroda said.

Kuroda, 38, said he doesn't feel "normal" and there's a "little discomfort," but he believes that's natural after taking a ball off the throwing hand. He's been icing and taping up his finger to alleviate the pain.

Kuroda originally would have thrown a bullpen session Thursday, but after talking with Yankees trainer Steve Donohue, they pushed it back a day.

"At this stage, I won't know until I throw tomorrow," Kuroda said about making his next start.

In the second inning Wednesday, Shane Victorino's leadoff single hit Kuroda in the hand as the pitcher tried to barehand it. After Yankees manager Joe Girardi and Donahue checked on Kuroda, the pitcher stayed in the game. But he hit two batters and walked another before getting yanked and was charged with the loss in Boston's 7-4 victory.

"I wasn't able to put my strength on the ball," Kuroda said Wednesday.

The Yankees hardly can afford to lose another starting pitcher, as they're already without Phil Hughes, who is out with a bulging disk. Hughes is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday and could return April 11 against Cleveland if everything goes well. In Hughes' place, the Yankees are turning to David Phelps to start Saturday against Detroit.

If Kuroda can't make his start Monday, the Yankees could turn to Adam Warren, who is currently a long man in the bullpen and threw 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in relief of Kuroda on Wednesday. If they choose to bring up someone from the minors, possibilities include Chien-Ming Wang and Vidal Nuno. Neither Kuroda nor the Yankees have given indication that Kuroda will land on the disabled list.

Kuroda's injury is yet another blow to an already depleted Yankees team that is currently without starting shortstop Derek Jeter (ankle), first baseman Mark Teixeira (wrist), third baseman Alex Rodriguez (hip), center fielder Curtis Granderson (forearm) and Hughes.