Yankees dealing with non-DL injuries

Starlin Castro was not in the starting lineup for the Yankees Monday night as they opened a four-game series at Yankee Stadium against the reigning World Series champion Royals, but that was more due to manager Joe Girardi’s characteristic cautionary approach to injuries that anything too serious.

Castro told reporters that his left ribcage was still sore but that he could have played. Girardi did not disagree but felt comfortable giving the second baseman who leads the club in hits (32) another day to get healthy. Castro has has some adventures on the bases. He was caught off third base in Sunday night’s 5-1 loss to the Red Sox and was picked off second base last week at Baltimore.

The Yankees also continue to be without center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has not played since the first inning Friday night because of a tight right hip. Although not on the 15-day disabled list with Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia, Ellsbury has yet to do any baseball-related activity. Aaron Hicks was in center field and Ronald Torreyes at second base Monday night.

The Yankees also activated relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman. To make room for the lefthander on the roster, there Yankees optioned Johnny Barbato to Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Barbato, a righthander who won the James P. Dawson Award as the outstanding rookie in the Yankees’ spring training camp, was 1-2 with a 5.54 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 12 games covering 13 innings.

Ivan Nova was to make his first start of the season in place of Sabathia, who has a strained left groin. Girardi was hopeful that Nova, who is 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA in six relief appearances totaling 14 innings, could give him at least 75 pitches. Nova’s longest outing in relief was four innings, which he did twice, April 6 against the Astros at the Stadium and April 26 against the Rangers at Arlington, Texas.

Last year, the Yankees had the best record of an American League club against AL Central competition of 21-12 (.625). Only the National League’s Pirates did better against AL Central competition in 13 fewer games at 13-7 (.650). The Yankees entered play Monday night with a 1-1 record against the AL Central (both games against the Tigers).

The Yanks also found out they will have an additional workload coming up. Their rainout April 10 at Detroit’s Comerica Park will be made up there at 7:40 p.m. June 2, which had been an open date for both clubs. With this date set, the Yankees will play on 40 of 41 days from May 3 through June 6. Their only off day during that stretch will be May 23 upon returning from a trip to Phoenix and Oakland

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