Tight groin ends evening early

Updated: June 12, 2004, 7:55 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina left his start against the San Diego Padres on Friday night after just three innings because of tightness in his right groin.

Mussina came out as a precaution, the team said. His injury occurred just two days after teammate Kevin Brown left his start against Colorado with a strained back.

Brown is day to day, and his status for his next scheduled start Tuesday in Arizona is uncertain.

Mussina seemed to be cruising, striking out four and giving up just an infield single and an unearned run in the third.

He has won his last six decisions and was finding his rhythm as the Yankees' top starter. In his last outing, he took a shutout into the ninth inning and struck out a season-high 10.

He looked just as good Friday night, striking out four of his first six batters.

Felix Heredia replaced Mussina to start the fourth inning with the score tied 1-all.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press