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Pettitte's elbow has a slight strain; may miss next start

By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 10, 2002

TAMPA -- An MRI exam) on left-hander Andy Pettitte's elbow showed a slight strain that will keep him from playing catch for at least two days and makes him questionable for his next scheduled start.

Pettitte skipped a start Friday after he felt a twinge in the elbow while warming up. While the injury is similar to previous elbow problems, Pettitte said it is not as serious and wouldn't be a concern if it wasn't so early in spring training.

"I could probably pitch the whole season with it right now," Pettitte said. "I've pitched when my elbow felt 100 percent worse than it does right now. I could have pitched (Friday), I just didn't want to take the chance."

Pettitte's next start might be pushed to Thursday.

RETURN OF THE TITANS: Shortstop Derek Jeter and first baseman Jason Giambi returned to the lineup after working through minor injuries and Jorge Posada made his spring debut behind the plate Saturday in a 2-0 loss to the Rays.

Jeter had not played since last weekend after straining a muscle in his neck, and Giambi, who was the designated hitter, had been sidelined since Monday with a tender hamstring. Posada had offseason shoulder surgery and had been the DH this spring.

Posada looked sharp, bouncing from behind the plate in the third to throw out Brent Abernathy on a bunt attempt.

"Sooner or later I was going to have to test it," Posada said. "It feels good. I was comfortable back there."

He is expected to catch again today.

TODAY: The Yankees split up with half heading to Fort Myers to face the Twins. The rest stay home to play Boston at 1:30. Sterling Hitchcock will start the road game and Mike Mussina will start against the Red Sox.

-- MIKE READLING

Bowa, defending pitcher, tossed

CLEARWATER -- Nothing livens a lazy spring training afternoon like a midseason-quality dispute.

Phillies manager Larry Bowa was ejected after a four-run Indians first inning during which he watched two two-strike check swings go against starter David Coggin. Bowa had been complaining to home-plate umpire Andy Fletcher during the changeover when first-base ump Marty Foster strode near and stared into the dugout. Bowa was tossed as he rushed out to begin a demonstrative two-minute argument with Foster, and returned for a second session when Foster made a remark as he headed away.

After taking his lineup card back to the dugout, Bowa made a wide swoop down the first-base line as he headed for the clubhouse.

"(Fletcher) missed two calls," Bowa said. "He cost the kid four runs. It should have been a 1-2-3 inning. Unbelievable."

Coggin said the two calls -- one against leadoff hitter Brady Anderson, who then doubled -- might have angered "a lot of people," but did not concern him.

"It's spring training for (umpires) like everyone else," he said. "If I had gotten those calls it would have helped me, but it didn't bother me."

KEY COG: Coggin, attempting to win the fifth starter spot, had his worst outing of the spring in the 7-3 loss to Cleveland, allowing five runs on five hits, including a third-inning home run by Russell Branyan.

"I knew right when I threw that one it was going someplace far," Coggin said.

HISTORY LESSON: Dick Allen, who hit .292 with 351 home runs and 1,119 RBIs during a nine-year career with the Phillies, has been summoned from his job in the community relations department. Allen will offer outfield instruction at the minor-league complex until March 20.

TURK TOSSES: Reliever Turk Wendell, sidelined with tendinitis in his right elbow, threw off a flat surface.

TODAY: Left-hander Randy Wolf (0-1, 3.00 ERA) will start in a 1:05 game against Texas at Jack Russell Stadium. Doug Davis will start for Texas.

-- BRANT JAMES

Martinez praises pitchers

DUNEDIN -- The Red Sox came within five outs of a no-hitter, but Toronto manager Buck Martinez had high praise for his pitchers after a 2-1 comeback win.

Roy Halladay and Scott Eyre, each with four strikeouts, improved their chances of making the starting rotation with solid outings.

Halladay, who allowed eight runs and 11 hits in three innings in two other appearances, limited Boston to one run and four hits in three innings for his longest and best stint this spring.

Eyre held the Red Sox hitless for three innings.

"Scotty Eyre's been incredible," Martinez said. "Last spring we had him here and he was tentative. He was nibbling around the plate."

As for Halladay, Martinez said, "He's had good movement all along."

"Except for the leadoff base hits (Halladay allowed leadoff hits in the second and third), I pretty much felt like I accomplished what I wanted," Halladay said.

NOT PERFECT THIS TIME: Boston's Derek Lowe pitched four perfect innings and Casey Fossom 12/3 perfect innings before a sixth-inning walk to Felipe Lopez.

NO NO-HITTER EITHER: Chris Woodward, who played most of last season at Syracuse, foiled Boston's no-hit bid with a sharp single to leftfield with one out and two runners on in the eighth.

-- STEVE LEE

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