Brown eligible to return June 25

Updated: June 15, 2004, 11:51 PM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Pitcher Kevin Brown was put on the 15-day disabled list by the New York Yankees on Tuesday because of a strained lower back.

Setback for Karsay
Steve Karsay
Yankees reliever Steve Karsay will shut down his throwing program in Tampa for a few days after canceling a scheduled rehabilitation start because of shoulder trouble.

Karsay did not pitch as planned for Class-A Tampa against Clearwater on Monday after feeling discomfort in his right shoulder while warming up.

"I'm not concerned," Karsay said Tuesday. "It's just one of those things. It's just a bump in the road."

Karsay had rotator cuff surgery in May 2003, and has appeared in four extended spring training games this season.

Karsay underwent treatment Tuesday at the Yankees' spring training complex. He might throw off a bullpen mound Thursday or Friday.

"I'm not sore," Karsay said. "It's just something that when you pick up a baseball and try to cut it loose and add a little bit extra it won't let you do it."

Karsay missed last season because of the shoulder injury. He went 6-4 with a 3.26 ERA and 12 saves in 78 games for the Yankees in 2002.

-- The Associated Press
The move was made retroactive to June 10, a day after Brown was forced to leave a start against Colorado after two innings. Outfielder Bubba Crosby was recalled from Triple-A Columbus.

The Yankees have the best record in the major leagues, but the health and depth of their rotation has been their top concern. Mike Mussina left his start Friday night against San Diego after three innings when he felt tightness in his right groin.

Jose Contreras was to start Tuesday night in Arizona and Tanyon Sturtze was to pitch Wednesday night against the Diamondbacks.

Brown, 39, is 7-1 with a 4.13 ERA in 13 starts during his first season with the Yankees.

The right-hander had an MRI exam, CT scan and X-rays last Thursday, a day after injuring himself. He was initially listed as day-to-day by the Yankees.

But the decision was made to place Brown on the disabled list and bring up a position player with the Yankees playing interleague series at Arizona and Los Angeles, where the designated hitter is not used.

Brown will undergo work to loosen up the back muscles.

"Right now, I think he's on his way to Colorado," Torre said before Tuesday night's game. "The plan is now for him to join us in L.A. He's going to get some therapy from the doctors who do that."

A six-time All-Star who earned his 200th career victory earlier this season, Brown has been beset by back problems.

He had surgery to repair a disc in 2002, and this marked his seventh time on the DL in six seasons.

After leaving his last start, Brown said he felt as if a "steel rod" was in his back.

Yankees manager Joe Torre recently 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 was traded to New York in the offseason in a deal that sent Jeff Weaver to Los Angeles.

Crosby has played 17 games for the Yankees and also 17 games for Columbus. He batted .240 with two home runs and seven RBI with the Yankees.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press