Andy Pettitte Lands on DL With Groin Strain, Sergio Mitre to Take Spot in Rotation

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Andy Pettitte Lands on DL With Groin Strain, Sergio Mitre to Take Spot in Rotation NEW YORK — For the second day
in a row, a New York Yankees starter left early with an injury. This
time, it will hurt.

Andy Pettitte strained his left
groin Sunday and is expected to miss at least a month, the bad news for
the Yankees on a day when they knocked around All-Star starter David
Price
and got a brilliant effort from their bullpen in a 9-5 victory
over the Tampa Bay Rays.

"It was a good game – with the
exception of Andy," Derek Jeter said. "Someone else is going to have to
pick it up."

That someone will be right-hander
Sergio Mitre, on the disabled list since June 15 with a strained muscle
on his left side. Mitre will throw about 75 pitches Monday in a rehab
outing for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, then come off the DL to start
in Pettitte's spot Saturday against Kansas City.

"That's the plan," general
manager Brian Cashman said in a phone interview. "We've been fortunate
to go this long without any injuries to our starting pitching."

Cashman said by the time Pettitte
heals and then gets back in pitching shape, he's likely to miss four to
five weeks.

"I'd say that's a safe guess,"
the GM said.

Robinson Cano hit a two-run
triple, Jorge Posada a two-run double and Alex Rodriguez added his 598th
home run for the Yankees, who took two of three in a series between the
top two teams in baseball to move three games ahead of Tampa Bay in the
AL East.

New York capped an emotional
weekend filled with tributes to late owner George Steinbrenner and
public address announcer Bob Sheppard by winning for the 10th time in 12
games. Five relievers picked up Pettitte, who hurt himself on a 3-1
pitch to Kelly Shoppach in the third inning and will go on the disabled
list.

"We have to weather it. That's
our job," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "No matter who we send out
there, we expect to win."

The 38-year-old Pettitte, who
pitched in the All-Star game last Tuesday, was taken to a hospital for
an MRI after walking off the field under his own power.

"It was painful out there," said
Pettitte, who missed 15 days with the same injury in 2001. "The doctor
said the next couple days how I feel is probably going to dictate how
long I'll be out."

Pettitte's injury came one day
after New York starter A.J. Burnett lasted only two-plus innings in a
10-5 loss, leaving the game with cuts on both hands following an angry
fit in the clubhouse.

Frustrated by his ineffective
outing, Burnett slammed open a set of double doors during the second
inning Saturday, slicing both palms on the plastic lineup-card holders
fastened to the entry. A day later, he said he apologized to his
teammates for the outburst and will make his next scheduled start.

Moseley tossed three innings in
relief of Burnett, and Gaudin followed with four – leaving the Yankees
without an available long man Sunday. So they put this one together
piece by piece out of the bullpen.

Chan Ho Park (2-1) pitched 1 1-3
hitless innings for the win and Mariano Rivera needed one pitch to
finish a game that lasted 3 hours, 47 minutes.

"It was a great job by the
bullpen, especially after yesterday. You couldn't pick a worse day for
me to go down," Pettitte said.

The lefty was replaced by David
Robertson
, and Yankees fielders headed for the dugout to cool off while
Robertson took as much time as he needed to warm up.

The right-hander then escaped a
bases-loaded, one-out jam.

"I think Joe did a great job,"
Rodriguez said. "Robertson was kind of a bold move and it paid off. I
think those were the two biggest outs of the game."

After falling behind 3-0 on
Carlos Pena's first-inning homer, the Yankees tied it in the third on
Mark Teixeira's RBI single. They broke it open two innings later with
four runs off Price (12-5), who wilted in the 91-degree heat during a
36-pitch fifth.

"It was pretty brutal, but I
can't really blame anything on it," Price said. "I just wasn't very
good."

After tossing two scoreless
innings Tuesday night for the American League at Angel Stadium, Price
slogged through his worst start of the season. He entered with a
league-best ERA of 2.42, but the 24-year-old lefty gave up seven runs,
seven hits and four walks in five innings.

"I didn't get myself prepared
for this game the way I should," Price said.

Cano's two-out triple off the
left-field fence cut it to 3-2 in the first. Jeter and Rodriguez had RBI
singles in the fifth before Posada's double made it 7-3.

Nick Swisher added an RBI single
in the sixth off Andy Sonnanstine, and Rodriguez hit the first pitch in
the seventh off an advertisement at the back of the Tampa Bay bullpen,
way beyond the 399 sign.

Gabe Kapler hit a solo homer off
Boone Logan in the seventh, but the Rays stranded seven runners through
the first three innings and 12 overall.

"We kind of had them on the
ropes again, and then it kind of went away," Tampa Bay manager Joe
Maddon
said. "I thought we played good baseball for three days. We just
didn't pitch well today."

Notes
Maddon gave All-Star LF Carl Crawford a partial rest, starting him at
DH. Kapler played left field. Crawford lost track of how many outs there
were on Evan Longoria's inning-ending flyout in the eighth. … Joba
Chamberlain
struck out three in 1 2-3 innings, allowing a run in the
ninth on pinch-hitter Matt Joyce's RBI double before Rivera came on. …
New York scored six runs with two outs.

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