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Cautious Yanks nix Pettitte from start over elbow

TAMPA — Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte was scratched from his start Wednesday against Tampa Bay because of irritation in his left elbow.

Manager Joe Girardi said Pettitte will make his next scheduled start in five days and that the problem will not keep the pitcher from being ready for the start of the regular season.

"It is nothing serious," Girardi said. "He's mad at us for not letting him throw (Wednesday), but it was kind of an executive decision that we made."

Pettitte said he felt the discomfort near the outside of his elbow after his last bullpen session.

Yankees special assistant to the general manager Stump Merrill was taken to a hospital after being hit just above the lip by a thrown ball during batting practice. It wasn't immediately known if Merrill would be kept overnight in the hospital.

Meanwhile, comedian Billy Crystal, who is slated to play with the Yankees today against the Pirates, made contact on all 52 of his batting practice pitches and joked about passing a drug test.

"I'm supposed to bring blood and urine to the umpire (today)," the lifelong Yankees fan said as he celebrates turning 60. "I might test positive for Maalox."

He'll get to swing, but it's unclear if the former high school infielder will need his mitt.

Feds target doctor: Federal prosecutors are investigating whether a California doctor illegally prescribed drugs for major-leaguers, the New York Times reported. Ramon Scruggs, a physician previously linked to Troy Glaus and Scott Schoeneweis in media reports, is the target of the investigation by prosecutors. The newspaper said the investigation has uncovered the names of other major-leaguers who received prescriptions from Scruggs, who has not been charged with any crimes.

Mitchell fallout: MLB has taken no steps to discipline players mentioned in the Mitchell report since it was released three months ago, so it is increasingly unlikely players will be punished before opening day. No players have been called in for investigatory interviews since Cleveland pitcher Paul Byrd spoke with baseball lawyers Dec. 17.

Astros: Right-hander Felipe Paulino, competing for a rotation spot, will miss at least a month because of a pinched nerve in his upper right arm.

Blue Jays: Pitcher Casey Janssen is out for the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Meanwhile, A.J. Burnett, who hasn't been able to throw his curve this spring because of a broken nail on his index finger, pitched four solid innings in a win over the Pirates. He threw 36 of his 52 pitches for strikes. "He has a power change and he can live on two pitches," manager John Gibbons said. "That change­up is dropping now."

Brewers: GM Gord Ash said centerfielder Mike Cameron has applied for a medical exemption that might have prevented him from testing positive last season for a banned stimulant, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. Cameron, 35, has applied to MLB for the exemption because he believes he could still be suffering aftereffects of an outfield collision in 2005 with former Mets teammate Carlos Beltran. Cameron missed the final six weeks of that season after suffering a broken nose and multiple facial fractures. He told USA Today he will have a battery of tests for possible post-concussion syndrome. If Cameron is granted his exemption, he would be allowed to use certain amphetamines banned by MLB.

DODGERS: Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda's second game as the team's manager in place of Joe Torre left him feeling sick. The club managed just two hits as a split squad fell 10-4 to the Nationals. "Every time I looked up, I kind of got sick," said the 80-year-old Lasorda, filling in for Torre while he's in China with part of the team that will play the Padres twice this weekend.

Indians: Juan Lara, critically injured in a November car crash in the Dominican Republic, was released by the team, which then re-signed him to a minor-league deal. The 27-year-old reliever was dropped from the 40-man roster, but will be paid his full 2008 salary with medical expenses covered by the organization. A speeding motorcycle slammed into Lara's SUV, stopped at a traffic light.

Mariners: Lefty Arthur Rhodes, 38, pitched a perfect inning against the Brewers, his first outing since last March. The former Oakland closer, who had ligament replacement surgery on his pitching elbow in May, got a rousing ovation after appearing in a game six weeks ahead of estimates. Also, the team released pitcher Horacio Ramirez, giving up on the underperforming left-hander acquired in a trade with Atlanta 15 months ago.

METS: Orlando Hernandez tested his new delivery in a simulated game, throwing 60 pitches in three 20-pitch sessions against hitters. The right-hander, whose pitches seemed to lack their usual zip, declared himself ready for exhibition action and said he expects to be ready for opening day.

PHILLIES: Reliever Brad Lidge, recovering from right knee surgery, took another step toward his goal of returning by opening day, throwing 26 pitches in his second bullpen session. "It feels like it's coming really fast, so I think next week is a possibility for getting in games," he said.

Rangers: Jason Jennings looked good in his quest to win a rotation spot after offseason elbow surgery and Sidney Ponson pitched two hitless innings in beating the Cubs 5-4. Jennings, who has a 1.17 ERA in his first three starts, gave up two runs, one unearned, in three innings. He struck out four and walked one. Ponson, who was signed to a minor-league contract, got five ground ball outs and struck out Alfonso Soriano in two innings.

Red Sox: Josh Beckett's sore back probably will keep him from going to Japan with his teammates, though the team has not made an official announcement. Beckett's back was stiff, four days after he felt spasms while warming up. The team leaves next week for Tokyo, where it has two exhibition games against Japanese teams before playing the first two games of the regular season against the A's. … Bartolo Colon is slated to make his first appearance today, against Tampa Bay, since Boston signed him to a minor-league contract Feb. 25.

Royals: Luke Hochevar, shooting for a spot in the rotation, recovered from a rocky first inning, allowing six hits and two runs in four innings in his first spring training start, a 6-3 win over the Angels. Drafted No. 1 overall in 2006, he gave up both runs in the first on a triple by Vladimir Guerrero and a single by Gary Matthews in his third spring outing.

Twins: Right-hander Scott Baker will not pitch for at least the rest of the week because of a sore muscle in his back.

Best bet

Pirates at Yankees, 1:15, Legends Field, Tampa: Many of the Yankees regulars could be back in the lineup after a wild day at Progress Energy Park. We're guessing 1B Shelley Duncan won't be on the card.

Cautious Yanks nix Pettitte from start over elbow 03/12/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 9:37am]
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