HOU@NYY: Nunez scores go-ahead run on double play

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have begun their rehab assignments after going through lengthy recoveries from injury. But they're just two of the contingent of injured players working their way back to the Yankees.

Shortstop Eduardo Nunez, outfielder Curtis Granderson and catcher Francisco Cervelli are all rehabbing from various injuries, but some are closer to a return than others.

Nunez, who is working his way back from a strained left oblique, spent a few days playing for Class A Charleston before being moved to Double-A Trenton on Thursday. He's currently hitting .231 in five rehab games.

Manager Joe Girardi wouldn't rule out Nunez returning before the end of the Yankees' current 10-game homestand.

"He's played this year, he's had a full Spring Training and he's be out on rehab, in a sense, a little bit longer," Girardi said. "He's in a much different situation than Alex, so I think that is possible."

Granderson is also progressing in his recovery from a fractured left pinkie finger suffered May 24. He had the pins removed from his hand on June 22, and he's been swinging in a pool, throwing and taking fly balls. The final step for him is to be able to swing a bat.

"By the time he starts to hit, he will have already done everything else," general manager Brian Cashman said. "Everything else is easy for him. Once he starts swinging the bat, he'll come quick."

The news is not as good for Cervelli. Working his way back from a fractured right hand suffered on April 26, the catcher suffered a stress reaction in his right elbow on Thursday and has been shut down indefinitely.

"This is a big setback in the fact that I don't know what we're going to get going forward this year," Cashman said. "Now you got to get the arm to calm down and get him, and we're starting to run out of time."

Hip feeling better, Kuroda cleared to resume throwing

TEX@NYY: Kuroda fans six in solid start vs. Rangers

NEW YORK -- Hiroki Kuroda has been cleared to begin throwing again, but it's unknown when the right-hander will make his next start.

"I got clearance from the doctor to go throw a side session today," Kuroda said through a translator. "I've always wanted to pitch, so finally I got that clearance."

Kuroda was scheduled to start Friday's game against Baltimore, but Ivan Nova is starting in his place. The veteran won't start against the Orioles this weekend, and manager Joe Girardi hasn't made any announcements about the Yankees' rotation for a four-game series against the Royals beginning on Monday.

Kuroda first felt discomfort in his left hip while warming up before his start Sunday against the Orioles at Camden Yards. He gutted through his outing, allowing four runs over six innings in the Yankees' 4-2 loss.

The veteran felt tightness in his hip after the game, prompting him to visit the training room. Kuroda flew back to New York for an MRI, which came back clean.

Kuroda said he was going to throw a full bullpen session on Friday, but he has not been told when he will pitch next.

He is 7-6 with a 2.95 ERA in 17 starts this season.

"I'm going to prepare myself to be ready as soon as possible," Kuroda said, "but it's not my decision to make."

Bombers bits

• Cashman said if the Yankees did decide to try and upgrade the catcher position in light of Cervelli's recent setback, they would likely look within the organization due to a "thin" trade market. One possible candidate for a callup is catcher JR Murphy, who was promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He's batting .275 with nine home runs and 34 RBIs this season.

• Second baseman Robinson Cano has some players in mind for his American League All-Star Home Run Derby team, but he's not willing to share those until the official announcement on Monday.

When asked if one of the players he planned to choose is playing for the other team -- referring to Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, the Major League home run leader -- Cano said, "Nice try."