The left-handed relief pitcher, signed to a two-year, $8 million contract in the offseason to shore up the bullpen, will be out indefinitely after an MRI on Wednesday afternoon revealed what manager Joe Girardi called "a shoulder issue" that may require surgery.
"The MRI did not come back good," Girardi said after the Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-4 at Yankee Stadium. "He has a damaged shoulder. He has a shoulder injury and in fairness to the player, he needs to talk to our doctors and the agent and decide what the next course of action is. That's all I'm going to give you."
Asked if surgery was a likely course of action, Girardi merely said, "He's got an issue and he needs to talk it over with his family, his agent and our doctor and we'll move from there."
Feliciano pitched just four innings in spring training before being shut down on March 27 with what the Yankees originally called "muscle soreness" behind in the area of his left triceps. Later, they changed the diagnosis to a rotator cuff strain, after which GM Brian Cashman accused the Mets of "abusing" Feliciano, who appeared in 266 games for them over the previous three seasons, including a franchise-record 92 appearances in 2010.
"I can't tell you exactly when it happened," Girardi said. "He was throwing the ball in spring training and didn't have any problems. After the one day, he had problems. He's had some shoulder problems in the past."
Feliciano did not pick up a ball for more than two weeks, but felt discomfort again when he attempted to play catch on Tuesday. "It's not really pain, just kind of a pinch when I throw the ball," he said.
Meanwhile, Luis Ayala, the pitcher the Yankees added to their roster to replace Feliciano at the start of the season, went on the DL on Tuesday with a lat strain. On Wednesday the Yankees called up 24-year-old righthander Hector Noesi to take Ayala's place in the bullpen as the long reliever.
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.