Yanks' Matsui may be able to take batting practice this weekend

TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees outfielder-designated hitter Hideki Matsui could resume taking onfield batting practice Saturday while he progresses in a rehab program for his sore left knee.

"I think very soon," Matsui said Friday through a translator.

Matsui, placed on the 15-day disabled list June 27, hit off a tee and took part in a soft toss session for the third straight day on Friday. He could start a running program soon.

"I think if everything goes well, then probably sometime the beginning of next week," Matsui said. "As of right now, I've had no problems at all."

Matsui had right knee surgery during the offseason. He is hopeful that surgery during the current season won't be needed for his ailing left knee.

"That's a goal," Matsui said.

Matsui is batting .323 with seven homers and 34 RBIs in 69 games.

Also, Carl Pavano, coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery on June 5, 2007, threw 45 pitches in his second batting practice session. In the final season of a $39.95 million, four-year contract, the oft-injured right-hander has made just 19 starts. He' 5-6 with a 4.77 ERA, with all but two of those starts coming in 2005.

Pavano is scheduled to face hitters again on Tuesday.

Left-hander Eric Milton, taken in the first round of the 1996 amateur draft by the Yankees and traded two years later to Minnesota in Chuck Knoblauch deal, is set to rejoin the organization. Milton, who had elbow surgery last June, started working out Friday at the Yankees' minor league complex.

Milton was 0-4 with a 5.17 ERA in six starts last season with Cincinnati. He threw in the outfield as part of Friday's session.

Free-agent right-hander Victor Zambrano also worked out at the Yankees' complex.