Soriano's bullpen shut down, reliever sent back to New York

Rafael Soriano, sidelined with stiffness in his pitching elbow, cut short his bullpen session this afternoon and huddled behind closed doors with Joe Girardi and the training staff. he also spent about 20 minutes chatting in the dugout with Felix Lopez, the First Husband of the Yankee family -- he is married to George Steinbrenner's daughter Jessica -- who carries the title of Executive Vice-President. He also must moonlight as a doctor because after the game, Soriano said it was he, Lopez, who recommended the reliever take "a week or two weeks'' off to allow the injury to fully heal.

That is not official, of course. Girardi said Soriano would travel back to New York to be examined by team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad before any determination is made about Soriano's status. "It's not what you want to hear,'' Girardi said. "He felt a little bit better, but its still not there yet, so it is a concern.''

Asked if it was difficult to watch his team lose six straight games largely without his help, Soriano said, "Right now, I don't think the bullpen (is) the problem. It (is) the hitters. A lot of games we've been losing by two or three runs, I wouldn't be in those games anyway.''