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Saturday, July 6, 2013
Yankees put David Phelps on DL

By Matt Ehalt
Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- The Yankees placed starter David Phelps on the disabled list with a slightly strained right forearm, while utility player Eduardo Nunez was activated off the disabled list for Saturday's game against Baltimore.

"We just felt it was in our best interest," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of placing Phelps on the disabled list, which is retroactive to Friday. "There was discussion of him just skipping him a start. Instead, just putting him on the DL, seeing that we have the All-Star break on our side. Making sure that he's healthy."

Nunez played shortstop and batted eighth. He went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, including the go-ahead RBI single in the sixth. He had a sacrifice fly in the second, and scored a run in the fifth.

"That's the best comeback you can do: help the team to win," Nunez said.

The Yankees first became aware of Phelps' forearm issue following his start against Minnesota on Thursday. Phelps, who pitched 6 1/3 innings of four-run ball and picked up the win, said he was a little sore but the pain was higher up on his arm. Phelps was evaluated and had an MRI on Friday. Girardi stressed that the strain is a slight one, and it is not the ligament. Phelps is 6-5 with a 5.01 ERA.

"He'll start throwing in 10 days, is what we anticipate, and we'll go from there," Girardi said.

The Yankees did not need to call up a starter as they had six starters on the roster before Phelps was placed on the disabled list. Hiroki Kuroda, who was skipped Friday because of a hip issue, will now start Sunday. Ivan Nova, who started in Kuroda's place, will make another start Wednesday against Kansas City. Phil Hughes will go Monday, while CC Sabathia starts Tuesday.

Nunez was back in the lineup for the first time since May 5 as he'd missed the past 56 games with a left oblique strain. Originally, Nunez thought he'd be fine to play in the following series against Colorado, but it's taken approximately two months for him to return to the Bronx. Nunez was hitting just .200 entering Saturday's game.

"I never thought (it would take this long). Maybe one week?" Nunez said. "It was tough."

Nunez played in six minor league games, including one on Thursday for Double-A Trenton, and went 6-for-16 during his rehab. Nunez believes getting those six games in gave him enough at-bats to feel comfortable about his comeback.

Girardi said that Nunez will be the team's starter at shortstop, though he'll receive time off going forward. Needing to give Nunez a breather is why the Yankees currently have two reserve infielders on the roster in Alberto Gonzalez and Luis Cruz. Cruz is playing third base and batting seventh on Saturday.

"The one thing that Nunez hasn't had is he hasn't played a bunch of games in a row," Girardi said. "Don't be surprised if I give him a day off here and there the next week or so, just because he's not probably equipped to play the next nine days in a row. He's probably not that type of shape yet and I'll have to be smart about it."

Nunez might not start at shortstop for that long as Derek Jeter (ankle) begins his rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday. Yankees GM Brian Cashman did not rule out Jeter returning before the All-Star break.

"I hope he comes soon," Nunez said. "We need it."

The Yankees also announced that first baseman Mark Teixeira (wrist) has been moved to the 60-day disabled list. Teixeira recently had surgery to repair his right wrist and will miss the rest of the season.