NEW YORK -- Though the Yankees sent two more players to the disabled list on Saturday, they managed to avoid sending a third there, as Kevin Youkilis returned to the starting lineup for the first time in a week.
Youkilis, who had missed the previous six games after leaving New York's April 20 contest in Toronto due to soreness in his lower back, was batting fifth and playing first base in his return. Manager Joe Girardi mentioned on Friday that a stint on the disabled list was a possibility, but Youkilis proved it unnecessary after going through batting practice on Saturday without any issues.
In his first season with the Yankees, the veteran infielder entered Saturday hitting .279 with two home runs and seven RBIs in 16 games.
Nova to DL with triceps strain; Nuno promoted
NEW YORK -- The good news for Ivan Nova is that the injury that forced him to leave Friday's start early turned out not to be an elbow issue, as originally feared. The bad news is that he was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to inflammation in his right triceps.
Right-hander David Phelps will slide into the starting rotation during Nova's absence, while Vidal Nuno will take Nova's place on the roster. On Saturday, the Yankees selected Nuno's contract from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and transferred shortstop Derek Jeter to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster.
Though relieved to find out the injury wasn't to his elbow, Nova was still disappointed to land on the disabled list. The right-hander is 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA through four starts, including Friday's abbreviated outing of two-plus innings.
"It's not what you want, especially when you'd been struggling," Nova said. "I was feeling good when I came from my house [on Friday]. I was preparing three days in a row for that last start, feeling really good. So it's not what you want."
Nova felt the initial discomfort between innings on Friday night, but he tried to pitch through it. He said he felt fine when throwing fastballs, but he experienced further pain when trying to throw his curveball. After hitting Munenori Kawasaki with one of those curveballs to lead off the third, then allowing a single up the middle to Rajai Davis, Nova saw his night end after just 54 pitches.
"That's going to heal," manager Joe Girardi said. "We know that's going to heal; it's just going to take a little bit of time. Treatment and some rest will knock that out. I know it was reported that it was his elbow, but it's kind of where it attaches. The triceps muscle will heal."
As for Nuno, the left-hander joins the Yankees after posting an impressive 2-0 record and a 1.54 ERA through four starts with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 25-year-old had allowed just four runs over 23 1/3 innings, while recording 26 strikeouts using a variety of pitches.
"Every year, we use about 20 pitchers around here, so if you're not one of the 12 [to make the Opening Day roster], be the guy that's throwing well when the phone rings," Girardi said. "And that was Nuno -- he's throwing extremely well."
Nuno, who will be used out of the bullpen, got the call informing him of the promotion around midnight ET. He left Scranton shortly after 8 a.m. on Saturday and arrived in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse around 10:30.
"It's just another chapter, and I've just got to prove I can belong here," Nuno said. "Just get in games and try to do my best and just handle business, pretty much. They called me up here to do a job, and now I've got to prove I can."
Cervelli's surgery opens door for Romine
NEW YORK -- With catcher Francisco Cervelli expected to miss at least six weeks with a fractured right hand, manager Joe Girardi said the Yankees will rely on a combination of Chris Stewart and Austin Romine behind the dish.
Stewart was in the starting lineup on Saturday, batting ninth, but Girardi said that Romine -- promoted on Saturday from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre -- will get his fair share of opportunities.
"He's going to catch some -- I'm going to catch Stew today, but I'll look at it every day," Girardi said. "We've got to see how Austin does when we put him in this situation. And how he does will probably [determine] how much we use him."
Romine, the No. 18-ranked Yankees prospect, according to MLB.com, missed most of the 2012 season after undergoing back surgery, but he was off to a fast start at Triple-A. The 24-year-old backstop was hitting .333 (14-for-42) with one home run and four RBIs through 14 games.
"We had him up here in 2011, and I thought he did a good job," Girardi said of Romine, who appeared in nine games with the Yanks in '11. "His problem is he's been hurt and hasn't played a lot. I felt then that, defensively, he could catch in the big leagues. Then he had the back injury and didn't get many at-bats last year. We just felt that -- we don't necessarily consider him a backup; we consider him an everyday player -- so we thought it would be in his best interest to go play every day down in Triple-A."
Though Romine didn't break camp with the Yankees this spring, as he had hoped to, he's planning to make a lasting impression in his second stint in the big leagues.
"Any time you get any type of [playing] time, you've got to show them what you can do," Romine said. "I'm going to take whatever time I do have here, and I'm going to show them that I can do it."
Cervelli, who sustained his injury when he was hit by a foul tip in the first inning of Friday's 6-4 win over Toronto, underwent successful surgery on Saturday morning.