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Cano in lineup for Yankees, Nunez improving

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The New York Yankees are slowly getting healthier.

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They still have a long way to go.

Second baseman Robinson Cano was in the Yankees' starting lineup for Friday night's game against the Kansas City Royals after experiencing discomfort in his right foot, while infielder Eduardo Nunez was available off the bench despite tightness in his ribs.

Meanwhile, right-hander Joba Chamberlain (right oblique) threw a bullpen session, first baseman Mark Teixeira (right forearm) was scheduled to take batting practice and infielder Kevin Youkilis (back) was doing some rotational movement as they also try to get back on the field.

One player who wasn't hurt heading to Kansas City: Mariano Rivera.

The Yankees' star closer was back to shagging balls in the same outfield where he tore the ACL in his right knee last season, landing on the disabled list for the rest of the year and at least initially putting the future of his sterling career in jeopardy.

It was a lighthearted return, too, thanks to some of his bullpen buddies.

They hung a sign on the wall near the site of the incident that said, ``No Mo Zone,'' and had stop signs in both English and Spanish. The hooligans also painted a chalk outline of a body and the number 42 in the dirt of the warning track where Rivera went down.

``You see guys get injured all the time, in different ballparks, and I know Mo isn't your everyday guy. I understand that,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, when asked of Rivera's return to Kansas City. ``I'm sure guys will have a little fun with it today and put it behind us.''

One thing Girardi would like to put behind the Yankees is the injury bug.

Cano fouled a ball off his right big toe last weekend against Oakland, and appeared to aggravate it while sliding Thursday night in Colorado. But Cano says that reports that he had a precautionary X-ray after the game against the Rockies were untrue.

``Every time I try to stop, you feel it a little bit,'' he said before heading out for batting practice. ``But it's nothing bad. I can work good. I'm good.''

Nunez did not take batting practice on the field, but he did swing in the cage prior to the game, and Girardi said he could be available to pinch hit Friday night.

There's also a chance that Nunez could return to the starting lineup Saturday.

The injury ravaged Yankees made a move to bolster their infield depth late Thursday when they acquired minor league shortstop Alberto Gonzalez from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later or cash considerations. He'll initially report to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Chamberlain came out of a bullpen session well, and said he plans to throw another one on Sunday. After that, he could go on a short rehab assignment before rejoining the Yankees.

``I wouldn't imagine it would be much,'' Girardi said. ``I think it's probably important, but it's something we can talk about.''

Teixeira hasn't played this season after hurting his right forearm taking light swings before an exhibition game for the World Baseball Classic in spring training. Girardi said he'll take BP on the field in the next day or two, the first time he's done that since the injury.

Youkilis is also starting to do more work after going on the DL with a back issue.

``I don't have an expectation when we'll see him,'' Girardi warned. ``I know he's going in the right direction. Backs are tricky. I've said this all along. It might be as simple as bending over to get a coffee cup, it can lock you up. Right now he's not a player for us.''

Girardi still hasn't decided on a starter for Monday's doubleheader at Cleveland, and might not make the decision until after Sunday night's game against the Royals.

Ivan Nova (right triceps) was scheduled to throw a bullpen session and could be available, and Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno are options. Girardi also said he spoke to pitching coach Larry Rothschild about using CC Sabathia on short rest.

``Monday's really up in the air,'' Girardi said. ``That's the best I can tell you.''

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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