NEW YORK -- Tests on Kevin Brown's troublesome back showed
no major damage, and he might not even miss a start for the New
Brown was treated for a strained lower back Friday and is day to
day after getting hurt earlier in the week.
He had an MRI, CT scan and X-rays on Thursday. The tests did not
reveal a herniated disk, the team said. Brown had surgery to repair
a disc in his back in 2002.
"The good news is there is no structural damage," manager Joe
Torre said. "We'll play it by ear. He can pitch any time he feels
After the Yankees' 10-2 loss to San Diego, Torre said Brown
might play catch on Saturday.
Torre left open the possibility that Brown could make his next
scheduled start Tuesday in Arizona -- but said it's up to Brown. If
he's not available, Tanyon Sturtze will probably make his first
start for New York since being acquired from Los Angeles on May 15.
"I don't think we're under any stress to make a decision
because we have the off day Monday," Torre said.
Brown was receiving treatment on his back and was unavailable
for comment before the Yankees played the San Diego Padres on
The right-hander was forced to leave Wednesday night's start
against Colorado after two ineffective innings because of stiffness
in his lower back. He said he felt as if a "steel rod" was in his
Torre said Brown has been having problems with his back since
the start of the season and that it was important to "get it
straightened out for Kevin's psyche."
Brown started strong, going 4-0 in March and April. But he's
struggled some since, with his ERA steadily climbing from 2.89 on
May 11 to 4.13.
He left the team for two days for an unspecified reason during
the last week of May and returned to beat Tampa Bay for the fourth
time this season. But in his next two starts, Brown gave up 12 hits
and 10 runs -- eight earned -- in eight innings.
New York has the best record in the majors, but the health and
depth of its rotation remains the team's biggest concern.
The 39-year-old Brown has been on the disabled list six times in
the previous five years. He was beset by back problems before the
Yankees got the six-time All-Star in a trade with Los Angeles.
Sturtze is 1-0 for New York with a 4.15 ERA in five relief
appearances spanning 13 innings.