Joe’s plan for Soriano: Keep pitching

Rafael Soriano was imported to New York at a substantial cost to serve as Mariano Rivera’s setup man, and a poor April isn’t about to change that.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said last night that he has no plans to alter anything with his late-inning relief situation, which will continue to have Soriano manning the eighth innings more times than not.

“You’ve got to fight your way out of it,” Girardi said. “You keep using the guys. You get them on track. I haven’t lost any confidence in Rafael Soriano. This is a very good pitcher that just happened to give up a two-run homer.”

Soriano missed time recently with a sore lower back, though he said that wasn’t an issue on Tuesday, when he served up a go-ahead blast to the White Sox’s Paul Konerko. But he did say that it has been difficult moving into a setup role after saving an American League-leading 45 games for the Rays last season.

“It’s not easy for me,” Soriano said. “I’m trying to figure it out, how that I can do the same that I did last year. I’m struggling right now. I’ll take it and forget about it, and come back tomorrow.”

Alex Rodriguez said after the game that he believes Soriano is feeling out an adjustment process to New York, and Girardi said that he believes Soriano is equipped to get through it.

“It’s a different animal here,” Girardi said. “Some guys come in and the transition is easy. Other guys, it can be difficult. I haven’t found the transition to be really difficult for him, I just think at times he hasn’t thrown great this year. I haven’t seen anything to tell me he can’t handle it.”

Girardi also rejected the suggestion that Soriano might not adapt to the pressure of pitching in pinstripes.

“Let’s not forget that he closed 45 games in this division last year,” Girardi said. “It was a tight race. There was pressure in our division the whole year.”

Soriano’s likely not available for the Yankees tonight, having pitched on back-to-back nights.

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