Rafael Soriano unavailable for two-game series against Rays

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Rafael Soriano won’t be facing his old teammates in a two-game series that begins tonight, as the reliever’s elbow soreness will keep him unavailable against the Rays.

Soriano walked two in a scoreless inning Friday for his only action since May 8, but told Bryan Hoch of MLB.com that he’s hoping to throw a problem-free bullpen session today and be cleared to return Wednesday.

Joe Girardi suggested that Soriano’s current soreness is “because he hadn’t thrown in five days” rather than his previous elbow problems remaining an issue. Soriano has recovered from a terrible first two weeks with the Yankees to allow just three runs in his last 10 appearances, reducing his ERA from 8.10 to 5.40, but the $35 million free agent signing certainly isn’t off to a great start in New York.

UPDATE: Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger reports that Soriano “felt stiffness again during his bullpen” session today, so it looks like a Wednesday return is probably optimistic.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.