Back spasms could force Big Unit to miss start

Updated: August 7, 2005, 6:23 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Randy Johnson's next start with the New York Yankees is in doubt because of a bad back.

"He's really uncomfortable," manager Joe Torre said. "If it was like this yesterday, he wouldn't have pitched."

Johnson lasted just four innings in Saturday's 8-5 loss, allowing six runs for the second straight start. The 41-year-old left-hander started having back spasms while covering first base in the fourth inning. He didn't come out for the fifth.

"It's real tight right now. It's hard to move," Johnson said. "I'm going to continue to get treatment. Hopefully, it will be day to day."

Johnson will be examined by team doctors when the Yankees return to New York on Monday. Torre said they should know by Tuesday if he will be able to make his next start.

Torre didn't sound optimistic.

"We'll have to wait and see," Torre said. "If he feels the way he does today, he can't pitch."

The Big Unit isn't happy with his first season in the Bronx. The five-time Cy Young Award winner is 11-7 with a 4.29 ERA. The back has been bothering him for some time, but he's yet to miss a start because of it.

The Yankees are already missing injured starters Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Chien-Ming Wang and Jaret Wright. Pavano and Wright, however, could be back soon as both are making minor league rehab starts this week.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press