NEW YORK -- The July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline is still about a month away, but Yankees general manager Brian Cashman does not want to wait.
"I'm ready to rock and roll," Cashman said prior to Monday's game against the Rays. "But again, I think those who have [trade pieces] are taking their time. Certain pieces, it's been communicated that if they get what they want, which would be an extreme haul, they're ready to move sooner than later."
Cashman's comments reiterated his point from Saturday that he was actively trying to improve the Yankees, and the reason the team has not executed a trade yet is "not because a lack of phone calls."
Monday's game against the Rays is the Yankees' 81st game this season, officially the halfway point in the schedule. The Yankees (41-39), two games out of first place in the American League East, were tied with the Blue Jays and Orioles in the loss column entering Monday.
"We're fortunate to be two games out with poor performance and injuries," Cashman said.
That has especially hindered the starting rotation. Ivan Nova was lost for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Michael Pineda is not projected back until sometime in August and CC Sabathia just completed his first Minor League rehab start and is expected to return in the next few weeks.
And their replacements in the rotation have offered mostly mixed results. Vidal Nuno is 2-4 with a 5.42 ERA, David Phelps was 3-4 with a 4.35 ERA entering Monday and rookie Chase Whitley has dropped his last two starts, allowing 13 runs in his last 7 1/3 innings.
Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija and Rays left-hander David Price, who is scheduled to start against the Yankees on Tuesday, are two of the top targets around the Majors, but both teams are expected to have a high asking price in exchange. Other starters such as Jason Hammel (Cubs), Cliff Lee (Phillies) and Ian Kennedy (Padres) are expected to be more in the Yankees' price range.
"I just think it's always difficult to acquire anything that's impactful and significant," Cashman said. "Those are tough conversations to have, and they usually hurt a great deal to do so. That's my experience and it seems like it gets harder, rather than easier. But you've got to go through it. You've got to figure it out and find a way if you can run into something that's going to impact you."
Asked if other clubs have been requesting right-hander Dellin Betances in trade talks, the GM declined to comment, but added: "I wouldn't say who gets asked a lot about. But I do know that we have personnel that are very attractive to other clubs -- personnel that I typically wouldn't want to part with. But we'll go through the walk and see where it takes me."
CC to make next rehab start at Double-A on Thursday
NEW YORK -- CC Sabathia is scheduled throw around 50 pitches during his next Minor League rehabilitation start for Double-A Trenton against Portland on Thursday.
Sabathia, who has been sidelined since May 11 with fluid and inflammation in his right knee, made his first rehab start for Class A Advanced Tampa on Saturday, when he threw 37 pitches and said he "could not have been happier with the way he felt physically."
The Yankees still have not determined the number of starts Sabathia will need before he returns to the Majors.
"We'll just take it one step at a time. Obviously, we have to maintain health and extend that pitch count," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He's only at 37 pitches right now, so he's going to build up to around 50 and then just keep going from there. Hopefully, he's on the horizon."
Cashman watched video from Sabathia's outing and said he was especially pleased with the way Sabathia moved around covering first base.
"That was noticeable, more so than anything else," Cashman said. "You're looking at if the knee's bothering him or what have you, and at least in that outing, he looked like he was jumping around pretty athletic and he looked healthy."
Since returning from the disabled list with a strained lumbar spine on June 12, Shawn Kelley has struggled for the Yankees. He was brought into the game in the fifth inning against the Red Sox on Sunday, and he walked two, allowed a hit and didn't record an out. He was eventually charged for two runs and said he was a little out of sync mechanically.
"Still got a few things to continue to get better at, as far as getting my leg strength back and arm strength," Kelley said. "I'm ready, I feel good. I can help this team and I can get outs. Yesterday didn't go as planned, but I'm back physically to where I need to be to be successful."
Jamal Collier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.