NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees signed right-hander Hideo
Nomo to a minor-league contract Wednesday, turning to yet another
discarded pitcher to fill their injury-ravaged rotation.
The Yankees claimed the 37-year-old Nomo off waivers from the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who designated him for assignment on July 16
after he went 5-8 with a 7.24 ERA.
Nomo hasn't pitched for 10 days, and Yankees manager Joe Torre
said he wasn't an option to pitch on Saturday -- a slot that remains
"He's got to get some work in, sharpen up," Torre said. "It's
like being on the DL."
With three pitchers from the Yankees' opening day rotation
injured -- Kevin Brown (back), Jaret Wright (shoulder) and Carl
Pavano (shoulder) -- New York has used 12 starters this season,
including injured rookie Chien-Ming Wang.
Al Leiter, making his third start for the Yankees on Wednesday
night against Minnesota, was acquired on July 16 from the Florida
Marlins after being designated for assignment.
When the Yankees on Tuesday pushed back Pavano's return from his
injury and scratched Brown's scheduled start Thursday, New York
suddenly became two pitchers short this week.
Aaron Small was told Tuesday night during the Yankees' 4-0 win
that he would be making his second start for New York in place of
"Whatever I can do to help this team when I get the call, I
want to do the best I can," Small said.
For Saturday, Torre wouldn't rule out using a reliever in a spot
start or the Yankees making a trade. The non-waiver trading
deadline is Sunday.
"We're going to wait and see," Torre said. "We may do a
bullpen thing or we may get help by then. As of right now, we have
Tampa Bay was the sixth team for Nomo, the first Japanese-born
player to appear in the majors after playing at the top level in
Japan. He has a 123-109 record in a career that began when he was
the 1995 NL Rookie of the Year for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Despite Nomo's struggles this season, Torre was impressed by his
"That's what we need at this point until we get healthy,"
Torre said. "We want to have a guy out there that will keep his
wits about him and give us a chance to win."
Torre might not have to wait too long to get back one of his
Pavano pitched five innings during a rehabilitation start
Wednesday for the Gulf Coast League Yankees, his first game
appearance since June 27, and allowed two runs -- one earned -- and
two hits, throwing 57 pitches. He had a consistent 91 mph fastball
in the 90-degree heat.
"I don't know when he will pitch next," Yankees vice president
Billy Connors said in Lakeland, Fla.
New York originally hoped Pavano would return to pitch Saturday
against the Los Angeles Angels, then decided Tuesday to slow his
"We have to wait until tomorrow" to see how he feels, Torre
said. "It seems like a good sign."
Torre said Pavano would likely make another rehab start.
"We've invested this much time," he said. "We'll probably
make a decision after talking to him and people who saw him."
Wright threw on the side at the Yankees' complex in Tampa and is
to make a rehab start Saturday. Wright has been sidelined since
April 23 with a strained right shoulder.