NEW YORK -- The baseball stuffed into Vidal Nuno's suitcase will serve as indelible proof that he was here, a treasured keepsake to be shipped to his California home as a permanent reminder that the miles covered on this long journey were worth it.
Nuno made his big league debut for the Yankees on Monday, tossing three scoreless innings of relief in New York's 9-1 loss to the Astros. He saved the ball from his first big league strikeout, a swinging "K" of Chris Carter in the eighth inning.
"It's going to be up in my room next to my bed so I can know I pitched in the Major Leagues," Nuno said. "Or I could give it to my dad, and it's like, 'Thank you very much for teaching me how to play baseball.' Either way, it's going to be in the family, in the house."
Nuno's path to the Majors is an interesting one. A 48th-round Draft pick of the Indians in 2008 from Baker University in Kansas, Nuno washed out of Cleveland's chain and played six weeks of independent ball for the Washington Wild Things of the Frontier League in 2011 before attracting the attention of a Yankees scout.
"It's young guys that got a shot in pro ball and got released," Nuno said. "It's good competition out there. They try to make it and try to get scouted. Long bus rides; the longest one was about 10 hours. It's a long journey on the bus, but it's all worth it. You still get to keep the uniform on and keep playing. That's what most guys want to do."
A soft-tossing left-hander who relies heavily on his changeup, Nuno throws strikes and has gained a reputation for attacking hitters, qualities that helped him advance through the Yankees' system.
Nuno was 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in four starts this year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after narrowly missing out on making the big league squad following a stellar spring.
Nuno tried to listen as much as possible to lefties like CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte this spring, and he is hoping to try to put some of that knowledge to use now that he has finally made it to The Show.
"It was a long journey," Nuno said. "Every day I'm just glad to be around baseball, around my teammates. We have a good time. It's just another day at work instead of working a 9-to-5 job. I'm having a great time."
Joseph's work pays off with callup to Yankees
NEW YORK -- Corban Joseph's call to the big leagues came late on Monday, as the Yankees summoned the infielder to the Bronx to replace the injured Kevin Youkilis on the active roster.
"It's crazy," the 24-year-old Joseph said. "It's almost like all of your hard work is finally paying off and you get to enjoy it with your family and your friends that kind of supported you along the way."
A fourth-round selection of the Yankees in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Joseph played mostly second base at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but will be asked to fill a backup role with New York, also filling in at third base and first base.
"I'm going to give him a chance to play some," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He has to be prepared to play three of the four [infield] positions. I'll give him a chance to play.
"He's played mostly second in his career; we've got a pretty good second baseman over there [in Robinson Cano] that I'm probably not going to sit too many days. But I'm going to get [Joseph] in there."
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that Joseph was promoted because he is on the club's 40-man roster, and that Joseph is most comfortable on the right side of the infield.
The Yankees would have also considered promoting infielder David Adams, but Cashman said Adams is not eligible to move up until May 15 because he was released and then re-signed by the Yankees, so Adams' loss may have been Joseph's gain.
"It's hard to explain because you've always wondered what it's like," Joseph said. "This is the first time that I've ever been called up. There's a lot of adrenaline and excitement and random emotions that you think about the years that you've put the hard work in and how much it has paid off just to get this one chance. It's a great opportunity."
Granderson near rehab stint; Tex targets June
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are hopeful that Curtis Granderson will rejoin their lineup at some point in May, but it seems likely that Mark Teixeira will have to wait until June.
Granderson is continuing to take batting practice at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Fla., and he could soon progress to Minor League rehabilitation games, as manager Joe Girardi said that Granderson is "pretty close" to full action.
The same cannot be said for Teixeira, who has been taking dry swings for nearly two weeks but has not received clearance to advance. As such, Girardi said that he does not expect to have the first baseman back before the end of May.
"He hasn't even started taking batting practice or hitting off a tee yet," Girardi said. "To me, [a May return] would be pretty rushed, in my mind."
Teixeira had circled May 1 as a possible return date, but he backed off that projection last week.
"Still swinging, working up to full speed," Teixeira tweeted on Tuesday. "I never realized how hard and violent I swung until I got hurt. Getting better but need patience!"
Girardi said that he expects to see Granderson cleared to play in extended spring games shortly, and the outfielder is also likely to play in games for at least one of the Yanks' Minor League farm affiliates.
"I anticipate that it's going to be fairly soon," Girardi said. "I'm going to listen to what they have to say about him today, I'll listen to what they say about him tomorrow and see if it's possible by the weekend, late this week or early next week. But he is getting closer."
• As part of his 'Mo'ment of Thanks farewell tour, Mariano Rivera met with 20 of the Yankees' longest season-ticket holders on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, conducting a Q&A session. Each participant received a baseball autographed by Rivera.
• On this date in 1923, the Yankees signed 19-year-old Lou Gehrig to a professional contract out of Columbia University. On this date in 1939, Gehrig played in the last of his 2,130 consecutive games, going 0-for-4 in a 3-2 loss to the Senators at Yankee Stadium. Gehrig asked manager Joe McCarthy to be removed from the lineup on May 2 at Detroit and would not play in another Major League game.