Minor injuries slow Sheffield, Matsui for intrasquad game

Updated: February 27, 2006, 4:03 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees outfielders Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui might miss or see limited action in the team's intrasquad game Tuesday because of minor injuries.

Gary Sheffield
Hideki Matsui

Sheffield took part in most drills Monday, including batting practice and running, after sitting out Sunday with back spasms.

"If he wants a couple of at-bats, you can stick him in there and do that," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "But I don't think he's going to miss a whole lot by missing that game."

Sheffield felt the spasms after taking extra hitting on Saturday. He said the back is "still a little bit" tight, but much improved.

"I'm ready to go," Sheffield said.

Matsui has a sore left knee and was held out of baserunning drills.

"He was a little cranky, but nothing major," Torre said. "If it bothers him, he won't play. Obviously we're not going to take a chance with anybody, whatever player. I will check with him in the morning."

Matsui expected to play.

"I think that's the plan until somebody tells me otherwise," Matsui said through an interpreter. "It has happened in the season before. It's not a big deal."

Mike Mussina, who might pitch the second game of the regular season, is scheduled to face 2004 first-round draft pick Philip Hughes in the intrasquad game. Non-roster invitee Scott Erickson is also slated to pitch.

SS Derek Jeter, 3B Alex Rodriguez, CF Johnny Damon and OF Bernie Williams are scheduled to leave Thursday to join their World Baseball Classic teams. All four are expected to be availble for Thursday's spring training opener against Philadelphia. ... Hall of Famer and spring training instructor Yogi Berra arrived at camp. Another Hall of Famer and instructor, Reggie Jackson, was expected to arrive Tuesday.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press