KANSAS CITY -- Shawn Kelley said he definitely wasn't trying to rack up a career-high six strikeouts in Friday's 11-6 win over the Royals, but the pileup of punchouts was a nice bonus for the Yankees right-hander.
Kelley hurled 2 1/3 perfect innings of relief in New York's victory, including striking out the first five batters he faced.
"I've always been a guy as the season goes on, as the weather gets warmer, my velocity goes up a little bit [and my] slider gets a little sharper," Kelley said. "I'm starting to feel a little bit more like myself and finding my groove a little bit."
Kelley was acquired by the Yankees in February from the Mariners for Minor League outfielder Abraham Almonte, making the team this spring because of his ability to pitch multiple innings.
"I think his arm strength has been more consistent," manager Joe Girardi said. "You're seeing the velocity out of his fastball be more 92-93 [mph] where you would see 89-92 [previously].
"It makes his slider better. It just makes all his stuff better. He's a guy that holds runners, he's athletic. It just seems like it took his arm a little bit of time to get in better shape."
Kelley has a 6.14 ERA in 14 2/3 innings, spanning 12 appearances, but has pitched cleaner ball of late and has also racked up 24 strikeouts against four walks entering Saturday.
"I'm just trying to attack and get ahead," Kelley said. "I've gotten a few more strikeouts this year than I've had in the past, but I'm not really doing anything different -- just getting more swing and misses.
"I don't really know if there's a reason for it or if guys are just being a little more aggressive, but I feel good as long as I keep getting ahead in the count. It's big for me to start 0-1. Then it's in my favor."
The Yankees' record for consecutive strikeouts in a single game is eight, set by reliever Ron Davis on May 4, 1981, against the Angels in Anaheim.
Nunez still dealing with discomfort in rib cage
KANSAS CITY -- Eduardo Nunez has hoped to avoid a stint on the 15-day disabled list, but the Yankees are running out of time to make a decision with the sidelined shortstop.
Nunez was hoping to be available to play on Saturday, but he is still feeling discomfort in his left rib cage. Nunez has not played since he was removed from a May 5 game against the Athletics.
"I thought he'd be ready. He's not ready, so we'll have to make an evaluation," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We'll see what he can do today and see where we're at."
Nunez said that there are no tests planned, but he has told head athletic trainer Steve Donohue that he still feels the rib cage discomfort when he tries to play in the field.
"I feel a little something over there," Nunez said. "They shut me down. They don't want it to be worse."
Accelerating the Yankees' decision is the single-admission doubleheader they will play on Monday against the Indians in Cleveland, and Girardi said he will need to summon another infielder if Nunez isn't able to play by then.
The Yankees can also add a 26th man for Monday's doubleheader, and Girardi said that the plan is to use that rule to call up an extra pitcher. Girardi said he and general manager Brian Cashman expected to have a final decision on Nunez by Monday.
"I would think so," Girardi said. "I talked to Cash a little bit about it today and I'll probably talk to him about it after the game and see where we're at."
Two possible replacements for Nunez on the active roster are Corban Joseph and Ronnier Mustelier, both of whom are playing at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Joseph was with the big league club earlier this season but did not appear in a game, while Mustelier's live bat gave him a chance to make the team in Spring Training before he sustained a knee injury running into a railing.
The New York Daily News reported on Saturday that the Yankees are planning to call up 25-year-old infielder David Adams next week, but he is not eligible to join the big league club until Wednesday because he was released and then re-signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees in April.
• Curtis Granderson was scheduled to DH on Saturday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, one night after he played eight innings in the outfield and went 1-for-5 with a two-run homer. Granderson is 2-for-8 in two games at Triple-A, playing left field and right field. Granderson broke his right forearm when he was hit by a pitch in the first game of Spring Training.
"He's getting at-bats under his belt," Girardi said. "I know he's feeling better, but I don't want to put a date on [his return]. I know everyone wants a date, but the date is for me when he says he's ready."
• Yankees third baseman Kevin Youkilis "felt good doing his rotational exercises" on Saturday in Tampa, Fla., according to Girardi. First baseman Mark Teixeira also took BP on the field and felt good, while right-hander Ivan Nova had no issues throwing a bullpen. Third baseman Alex Rodriguez is hitting off a tee and doing light jogging.
• On this date in 1903, Highlanders first baseman John Ganzel hit the first home run in franchise history. The inside-the-park, fifth-inning solo homer came off Tigers pitcher George Mullin in New York's 8-2 win at Detroit's Bennett Park.