Yanks' Kennedy, Rocket scratched; Hughes to go Saturday

Updated: September 22, 2007, 2:11 AM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- First, rookie Ian Kennedy was scratched. Then, Roger Clemens. Good thing for the New York Yankees that they have six capable starting pitchers.

Kennedy was passed over for his scheduled start Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays because of a strained muscle in his upper back. Clemens was going to be bumped up a day to pitch in Kennedy's place, but then he was pushed back because his left hamstring is bothering him.

"Let's not press it. Let's give it some time," pitching coach Ron Guidry said Friday night.

Phil Hughes will start Saturday followed by Mike Mussina on Sunday, both on customary four days' rest. Clemens is shooting for the series finale Monday.

"We're just going to move up our guys," Guidry said. "We've got enough pitchers here."

Guidry said Clemens felt a little tweak in his hamstring recently, perhaps when he was running Thursday. Kennedy felt tightness in his back while throwing a bullpen session Wednesday.

"We don't foresee it being anything serious, just something to pay attention to," manager Joe Torre said before New York's 5-4 loss to Toronto on Friday.

Kennedy has been receiving treatment and plans to throw on flat ground Saturday. He is 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three major league starts since he was called up on Sept. 1.

"At first, I was obviously upset," Kennedy said. "But I talked to the doctor and he said it's no big deal. ... Right now it doesn't feel tight at all."

Still, the right-hander was disappointed because he knows there's no guarantee he'll get another start before the regular season ends on Sept. 30. The Yankees, closing in on their 13th straight playoff berth, have five other starters with more experience.

"We've got so many guys," Kennedy said.

Torre said he doubted he would use Kennedy out of the bullpen.

Clemens' most recent outing was in Boston on Sunday, when he pitched well in his first start since Sept. 3. The 45-year-old right-hander had been sidelined with a blister on his foot and ligament damage to his right elbow.

"We're just taking the safe route and giving him a couple days," Torre said Friday night after the Yankees lost 5-4 to Toronto in 14 innings.

While Kennedy will miss his start Saturday, he's relieved to know he won't have to postpone his wedding.

Whether he's on a potential Yankees playoff roster or not, the pitcher will fly to Missouri on Oct. 6 to marry Southern California basketball player Allison Jaskowiak as planned.

It sounds as though Torre is leaning toward going with Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Clemens and Mussina as his starting pitchers in a possible postseason series. That would leave out Hughes and Kennedy, both rookies.

As long as there isn't a rainout, Oct. 6 is scheduled to be an off day in the AL playoffs. Kennedy said he spoke with general manager Brian Cashman and cleared the whole wedding plan.

Kennedy and his new bride would then meet the Yankees wherever they are the next day and remain with the team throughout its first-round series.

"I'll be here whether I'm taking up a roster spot or not," he said. "At least we'll be able to act like a married couple for a few days."

The honeymoon, however, will have to wait.

Kennedy and Jaskowiak planned to go to Tahiti, but they'll need to postpone the trip. A grinning Kennedy said he was glad he bought insurance, so they'll be able to get their deposit back.

Kennedy zoomed through New York's minor league system this season. He was selected with the 21st pick of last year's amateur draft and received a $2.25 million signing bonus.

After pitching at Class-A Staten Island last season, he was a combined 12-3 with a 1.91 ERA this year at Class-A Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Because Kennedy plays baseball and his fiancee is on a college basketball team, finding common time off for the wedding was difficult.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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