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.