Staffing problems: Mussina joins Yankees' injured list

Updated: August 30, 2005, 10:20 PM ET
Associated Press

SEATTLE -- Mike Mussina will miss at least one start because of slight inflammation on the inside of his pitching elbow, becoming the fifth and final member of the New York Yankees' original starting rotation to get hurt this year.

Mussina allowed four runs and six hits in three-plus innings against Seattle on Monday night, failing to complete the fifth inning in consecutive starts for the first time since Sept. 12 and 19, 1996, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

The 36-year-old right-hander, 12-8 with a 4.34 ERA, had been bothered by the inflammation previously this season, Yankees manager Joe Torre said before Tuesday night's game against the Mariners.

"It's not something that just cropped up this morning," Torre said.

Torre said the Yankees planned to "shut down" Mussina for three or four days to see if his elbow gets better. Mussina gave up eight runs in an inning against Toronto last week and was 1-2 with an 8.17 ERA in five August starts.

Mussina confirmed that the elbow has bothered him this season.

"It has been messing with me on and off, but it hasn't bothered me to where I couldn't pitch," he said before Tuesday's game.

Mussina said Torre and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre thought "the last couple of games it has bothered me more than I was letting on."

"Obviously, I'd rather be pitching," he said. "I know I want to be out there. This is an important time of the season. But, I want it to go away and not be an issue, so maybe this is the best idea."

Asked whether Mussina would miss only one start, Torre said, "We hope that's all he will."

Aaron Small (5-0) might take Mussina's slot for Sunday's game at Oakland. Small allowed one hit in four scoreless innings as the Yankees rallied for a 7-4 win Monday.

"That makes sense," Torre said. "But we'll see if there are other options."

Mussina expects to miss only one game.

"One game should be enough," he said. "At 36, and pitching as long as I have, you're not always going to be 100 percent."

Randy Johnson has missed two starts this year because of a bad back, and Jaret Wright was sidelined from April 24 through Aug. 14 with an injured right shoulder.

Kevin Brown was on the disabled list from April 3-17 and June 18-July 18 with an injured back, then went back on the DL on July 28. Carl Pavano hasn't pitched since June 27 because of a sore right shoulder.

Chien-Ming Wang, who joined the rotation early in the season because of the injuries, hasn't pitched since July 8 because of shoulder inflammation but is on a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Columbus and could return in September.

With Mussina out, the Yankees' rotation would include Johnson, Wright, Shawn Chacon, Al Leiter and Small.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press