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Injured groin felt good during session

PHOENIX -- New York Yankees right-hander Mike Mussina threw
off the mound Thursday and felt no problems from the ailing groin
that forced him out of his last start.

Mussina plans a more strenuous bullpen session Saturday in Los
Angeles, then is aiming for a return to the rotation when the
Yankees play a three-game series next week in Baltimore.

"I'll throw the ball on Saturday, put a little more into it,
and see how it feels," he said.

Mussina said he threw 25 to 30 times, using all of his pitches.

"I did what I wanted to do: Step down the hill, throw the ball,
follow through," he said. "Yeah, it was good."

Mussina left with tightness in his right groin after pitching
three innings in his start against San Diego in Yankee Stadium last
Friday night. His next scheduled start would have been Thursday
night at Arizona. Because of the off day Monday, Jon Lieber was
moved up to take the start Thursday.

Mussina said he was aiming at starting against the Orioles on
Tuesday, but manager Joe Torre said it might be pushed back to
Thursday. Torre said he won't know for sure that Mussina is all
right until the pitcher experiences game conditions.

"When you really exert yourself is when the guy's at the
plate," Torre said, "so you keep your fingers crossed and you
hope that everything's fine. But until he's back on the mound
pitching, that's the only time I'll feel good."