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Soriano To Return Friday Night Physically But Will He Mentally?

Jeff Zelevansky, Getty Images

Rafael Soriano will be activated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday Night for the New York Yankees. He has had elbow ligament issues, which kept him off the field for a couple of months. Soriano will return to his 8th inning role.

But will Soriano return mentally? I’ll tell you why Yankee fans should worry big time!

Unfortunately for Yankee fans Rafael Soriano has been ineffective for most of his outings this season. Though some of the blame can be placed on his elbow. Though Yankee fans must exercise caution with Soriano since we have now learned he’s a headcase, and worse, may not even care with his team role.

Why can I comfortable say that? Well for Soriano’s career in Atlanta and Tampa Bay, it’s been widely known and reported that Soriano was very picky about pitching in a save situation and for a full inning. In fact, before coming to New York, the reliever had to decide if he’d be satisfied with being an 8th inning guy.

Eventually, the advice of others and money guided him towards being comfortable. Even Brian Cashman was hesitant to bring Soriano to the Bronx. Cashman went on record noting that this deal was completed with the encouragement from ownership to bring in Soriano while Cashman wasn’t so thrilled about the idea, and now we know why.

Chris Trotman, Getty Images

So far this season there have been two big red flags regarding the effort and mindset of Soriano. The first came in early April when he let a 4-0 lead slip away and cost CC Sabathia a victory. After the game, Soriano quickly got his things and left the clubhouse! He left his teammates and manager left to discuss his outing. Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News said “As bad as Soriano’s performance was on the mound tonight, it was nothing compared to his no-show act after the game. Terrible job.” Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger also chimed in on the no-show saying “Soriano nowhere to be found in clubhouse after game. If Logan, Robertson, and Swisher can stand there and talk about how they blew that game, Soriano can too. Weak sauce.” Clearly being in NY and dealing with the media hasn’t been a strong suit for Soriano.

The second red flag came just before he was placed on the disabled list. He said that he “wasn’t needed.” He went as far as to even criticize the Yankees batters for not even allowing him to present that hold opportunity.

And finally, most recently, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that Soriano during his rehab pitching appearances was either pacing, saving energy in his tank, or acting disinterested on the mound as he heard that information from scouts at the game.

All of this is quite alarming stuff. Especially with the fact that the Yankees really need his talents to appear from the bullpen for the remainder of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how Soriano performs and how he’ll handle the media throughout the remainder of the season. But as of right now, he’s certainly not making good on his large contract.

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