Rafael Soriano back for homestand?

Updated: July 23, 2011, 8:03 PM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it is "definitely possible" that his club will get reliever Rafael Soriano and infielder Eric Chavez back from the disabled list at some point during the team's 10-game, 11-day homestand which kicks off Friday night against Oakland.

Soriano has been on the disabled list with an inflamed right elbow since May 17. He made his second rehab appearance on Thursday for Class A Tampa, allowing one run on two hits in one inning.

The right-hander is expected to throw back-to-back outings on Sunday and Monday, which would conceivably allow him to return to the Yankees by the end of next week. He will make his third rehab appearance Sunday with Triple-A Scranton.

With David Robertson's success as the Yankees' eighth-inning setup man to Mariano Rivera, it is unclear what Soriano's role will be when he returns. Girardi has yet to announce his plans for Soriano, who signed a three-year, $35 million contract in the offseason, which general manager Brian Cashman publicly stated he was not in favor of.

Soriano struggled in his brief time up with the Yankees, going 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA and walking 11 batters in 15 innings before suffering the injury.

Robertson has been lights-out in the eighth inning since Joba Chamberlain was lost for the season due to Tommy John surgery on June 8.

He has a 1.17 ERA and an astounding 61 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings on the season.

Girardi said he'd like to see Chavez play nine innings in the field in back-to-back games before he returns to the Bronx. The backup infielder was placed on the disabled list with a broken left foot on May 6.

"It's one thing to DH, it's one thing to play the field and have him be on it all the time," Girardi said of Chavez. "How's that foot going to respond? As long as it's responding well (and) we get him to play a couple days in a row, I don't see why we wouldn't consider him a player for us."

Chavez went 1-for-4 with a run scored and a double Friday for Single-A Tampa. He played seven innings at third and made two defensive plays.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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