NEW YORK -- Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner took five at-bats in an extended spring game on Tuesday in Tampa, Fla., and could be activated by the end of this weekend's Subway Series against the Mets.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Gardner will take batting practice on Wednesday and play in another extended spring game on Thursday.

If Gardner does not return for the Mets series, New York's visit to Atlanta from June 11-13 appears likely.

"We'll probably play him a few days in a row [and] just have to see how he does," Girardi said. "[The Mets series is] possible, but we'll just have to see how it goes."

Gardner has not appeared in a Major League game since April 17 due to a right elbow strain, which he aggravated on a Minor League rehabilitation assignment last month.

Hit on forearm, Cano may play on Wednesday

NEW YORK -- Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano was removed from Tuesday's 7-0 victory over the Rays with soreness in his left forearm after being hit by a pitch, but he's expected to play on Wednesday.

Cano said that X-rays performed after he was drilled with the seventh-inning fastball from Tampa Bay's Cesar Ramos were negative. He left Yankee Stadium with a wrap on his forearm and said he still felt some discomfort.

"I'm not worried that it's that serious because you would have felt it right away," Cano said. "But I didn't want to be stupid. We were up, 7-0."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi inserted Jayson Nix into the lineup in Cano's place but said he believes Cano can return for Wednesday's game.

"He was a little sore, a little stiff, so I think he'll be a player for us tomorrow," Girardi said.

When back, Robertson will set up Soriano

NEW YORK -- David Robertson expects to return to active duty in the Yankees' bullpen within eight or nine days, but the right-hander will be coming back for the eighth inning.

Robertson's brief stint as the Yankees' closer appears to have ended, as manager Joe Girardi plans to stick with former American League saves leader Rafael Soriano -- who entered Tuesday's game a perfect 6-for-6 in save opportunities this season -- as his closer.

"He's good! What do you want me to say about it?" Robertson said, flashing a broad grin. "He's got a lot of saves under his belt. He knows how to pitch. I didn't ever think about it as me being the closer. I still thought it was going to be the same thing; whenever the opportunity arises, you go for it."

Girardi said that Robertson, who wobbled in two early-May save opportunities after Mariano Rivera's season-ending right knee injury, can expect to see duty as Soriano's setup man.

"We're probably going to put Robbie in some situations in the eighth inning when he comes back, and then we'll just go from there," Girardi said. "Soriano has done a very good job -- whatever we've asked him to do. We feel that they're interchangeable.

"Sori has the experience down there. Let's just get Robby back and see how he's throwing the baseball, but I expect that we'll try to insert him into the eighth inning to start out."

Robertson threw 35 pitches in the bullpen on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium and said he no longer feels discomfort in his left oblique. The right-hander said his next step will be to pitch batting practice, which he could do at the Stadium this week, and he expects that he will be sent for a Minor League rehabilitation assignment.

"I'm sure they'll want me to get in a couple [of games], or at least one, for sure, so we'll just wait and see how that goes," Robertson said.

Bombers bits

• Girardi said he has not yet heard anything about potential discipline from Major League Baseball about Saturday's incident involving himself, hitting coach Kevin Long and umpire Bob Davidson, other than the initial notice of a fine.


 • Seven members of the United States Olympic freestyle wrestling team going to the London Games in July attended Tuesday's game as guests of the Yankees. They will wrestle Russia live in Times Square on Thursday at 6 p.m. ET, a free event open to the public.

• On this date in 1874, Hall of Fame right-hander Jack Chesbro was born in North Adams, Mass. Chesbro went 128-93 in 269 games with the Yankees from 1903-09, including a 41-win season in 1904 that stands as the single-season AL record.