Sabathia sidelined with right knee inflammation

SEATTLE -- CC Sabathia is continuing to play catch back in New York, and the left-hander could test his right knee off a mound next week when the team returns to Yankee Stadium, manager Joe Girardi said on Thursday.

"He did a little bit of a flat ground yesterday, and hopefully when we get home next week, they can possibly even get him on a mound," Girardi said. "We'll see where he's at."

The Yankees have been hopeful that Sabathia could rejoin their rotation sometime in July. There is less progress to report with right-hander Michael Pineda, who has not resumed throwing after a setback with the muscle strain behind his pitching shoulder.

Girardi said that Pineda "hasn't thrown yet, but he's pretty close," and that it was part of the Yankees' plan to have Pineda shut down for this period of time. He was scratched from a June 1 intrasquad outing due to soreness.

Murphy's days likely numbered as Cervelli nears return

NYY@STL: Murphy slaps a single to center, plates two

SEATTLE -- Francisco Cervelli is eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, and it appears that the Yankees plan to activate the catcher in the near future, with John Ryan Murphy ticketed to return to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Manager Joe Girardi said that the decision to send Murphy -- who started on Thursday against Mariners left-hander Roenis Elias -- to the Minors was not finalized, and suggested that Cervelli might not rejoin the Yankees until next week in New York.

Cervelli, who was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring back in April, is currently with Double-A Trenton and has played in six Minor League rehab games. He hasn't appeared in the big leagues since April 13.

"We'll make an evaluation after tonight, see where he's at," Girardi said. "We feel that he's pretty healthy, and that's a great sign. It could be when we get back. We'll see where we are after tonight and evaluate it every day."

Girardi indicated that the Yankees plan to start Brian McCann in all three games against the A's in Oakland. Murphy was the beneficiary of Cervelli's absence, taking over duties as McCann's backup, and he has impressed.

The 23-year-old Murphy entered play on Thursday batting .296 (16-for-54) with a home run and eight RBIs in 21 games, while also showing good defensive ability. Girardi said that it could be beneficial for Murphy to play every day.

"I don't think it ever hurts anyone to play every day, to develop," Girardi said. "You get in a rhythm more, and I think you can learn more about yourself, physically, sometimes if you're playing and your career is to be an everyday catcher. I think that's important to do, to learn how to handle fatigue and all those different types of things."

Bombers bits

• Carlos Beltran played catch again on Thursday, throwing to coach Rob Thomson from a distance of 90 feet on the outfield grass as he continues to test his right elbow. Beltran, who is being used only as a DH at this point, plans to take Friday off from throwing and then would play catch on Saturday and Sunday.

• Girardi said that he placed a call to Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations, regarding a play in the ninth inning of New York's 4-2 victory over the Mariners.

Jacoby Ellsbury ripped a ball down the first-base line that was ruled foul by umpire Mark Wegner. Girardi believed the ball had crossed the first-base bag in fair territory and asked Wegner if the play could have been reviewable, but was told that it was not.

• Thursday marked Hideki Matsui's 40th birthday. On this date in 2008, Matsui became the first and only Yankee to hit a grand slam on his birthday, providing all of the Yankees' offense in a 4-1 win at Oakland.

• On this date in 2009, the Yankees were trailing the Mets by a run with two outs in the ninth inning when Alex Rodriguez lifted what appeared to be a game-ending popup. Mets second baseman Luis Castillo dropped the ball and two runs scored, giving the Yankees a stunning 9-8 victory at Yankee Stadium.