George King of the NY Post caught up with Russell Branyan to get a explanation for why he got released and re-signed another contract with the Yankees on the same day. The reason was as expected, the Yankees wanted to avoid a $100K payment to him, but when discussing it Branyan revealed that he expects to take swings soon.
“Guys are guaranteed a certain amount of money the first two months of the season. Since I’m hurt the team wasn’t going to, I guess, honor that contract, they feel like I got another three or four more weeks of rehab, so they decided to rehab me and at the end of that rehab we’ll see where we are,” said Branyan. “It’s been frustrating, four days into camp, you get a tweak in the back, you think it’s going to be a day or two and it turns into the whole spring. If I could have had a good camp, I could have turned some heads, it’s been an uphill battle. I’ll be taking swings next week, it’s just a progression.”
Branyan would only be expected to DH against righties if he were on the team so it’s not like he needs a ton of time to rehab. Mostly he would have to take a few weeks to be sure the back pain has subsided and get his timing down. The thing is, Raul Ibanez currently has the job Branyan wants and he has been showing signs of life lately. As long as Ibanez is around there is no playing time for Branyan.
Jack Cust was also signed recently to potentially fill the same exact role. So even if Ibanez falters there is no guarantee that Branyan would get a roster spot.