Manager Joe Torre announced after the 16-1 victory over the
Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Monday night that Johnson will miss his
final regular season start because of back spasms.
"My back is locked up right now," Johnson said. "Get it taken
care of and get ready for the postseason game. Getting the
treatment and doing things accordingly. It's the best thing to do.
Maybe the time off will help. That's what I chose to do. Joe was in
agreement with that."
Johnson (17-11) had been scheduled to pitch Thursday night
against Baltimore. Mike Mussina will move up one day to make that
"He's not going to start again until the playoffs," Torre said
of Johnson. "He's experienced some back problems. He's been
pitching with it. It was decided, Randy included obviously in the
decision, to shut him down. He's still going to work toward that playoff start."
The injury likely means that Chien-Ming Wang will start the
Yankees' AL divisional series opener. Mussina could get the call
for Game 2, with Johnson possibly going in Game 3.
The Yankees' night had been great before the news about Johnson.
Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui hit three-run homers in a wild
six-run first inning to start the offensive onslaught that included
a season-high 20 hits.
Abreu and Matsui homered off Jae Seo (1-7) during the 26-minute
half inning that also saw Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon and pitching
coach Mike Butcher ejected.
Jaret Wright (11-7), bidding to be the Yankees' fourth starter
in the postseason, gave up one run, five hits, four walks and
struck out four in six innings. He is 7-1 all-time against Tampa
Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who pitched for the first time
Friday since being sidelined since Aug. 31 with a strained right
forearm, allowed an infield hit and had a strikeout in a scoreless
"He looked smooth," Torre said of Rivera. "He was good. He
just needs a little more work."
New York had lost three of four since clinching its ninth
straight AL East title on Wednesday. The Yankees (94-62) are tied
with the Detroit Tigers for the best record in the AL.
"We just seemed to have more life tonight," Torre said.
Abreu went 4-for-4, including a run-scoring single in the
second. He had a career-high seven RBI when the Yankees beat Tampa
Bay 12-4 on Sept. 12.
Matsui went 3-for-4 and had four RBI. Miguel Cairo drove in
three runs with a double with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Seo, 0-2 over his last nine starts, threw 46 pitches in the
first. He allowed eight runs and seven hits in 1 2/3 innings.
"I had problems with my location," Seo said. "What I think is
a strike, the umpire thinks it's a ball. After that, I lost my
Butcher was thrown out by plate umpire Alfonso Marquez for
arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. After being ejected,
Butcher ran toward home plate to continue arguing. He appeared to
make contact with third base umpire Larry Young, who tried to get
between the coach and Marquez.
"Probably, during the course of the argument," Young said with
a shrug when asked about the contact. "We're going to make a
report to the [commissioner's] office."
"I didn't grab anybody," Butcher said. "We'll see what
Maddon left the dugout to argue and was thrown out by Marquez.
Butcher, who had returned to the dugout, went back on the field and
had to be restrained by bullpen coach Bobby Ramos.
"I was seeking an explanation, and it got a little out of
control," Maddon said. "It was just one of those moments."
Ty Wigginton homered in the sixth for Tampa Bay, his
New York's Andy Cannizaro hit his first major league homer in
Rodriguez stopped an 0-for-13 slide with a fourth-inning
single. ... New York 1B Jason Giambi (left wrist) remains scheduled
to hit off a tee Tuesday. He might play Wednesday. ... Mussina, hit
on the base of the left thumb by a line drive Sunday, reported no
problems. ... Matsui is scheduled to play in the field Tuesday. He
has been the DH 12 times since returning from a left wrist injury.