Bad back puts Yankees' Brown on DL

Associated Press
Published April 4, 2005

NEW YORK - Kevin Brown didn't make it to opening day.

The 40-year-old right-hander with the bad back went on the disabled list for the 12th time in his career Sunday, two days after back pain forced him out of his last spring training start.

To fill his roster spot, the Yankees recalled infielder Andy Phillips from Triple-A Columbus.

Brown's back bothered him for most of last season, and he was largely ineffective in the second half, so much so that he broke his left hand punching a wall in frustration. He was 10-6 with a 4.09 ERA during the regular season and was the loser against Boston in Game 7 of the league championship series.

After treatment during the offseason, Brown said his back felt much better early in spring training. He began to feel pain two starts ago when he thought he slipped on the mound, Yankees manager Joe Torre said before Sunday night's season opener against the Red Sox.

Because of off days, New York will not need a fifth starter until April 15 or 17, depending on whether Randy Johnson makes his second start Friday or Saturday against Baltimore. Brown is eligible to be activated on the 17th and if he's not ready, New York probably would fill his spot in the rotation with Tanyon Sturtze.

On the DL for the eighth time in six seasons, Brown was in Georgia on Sunday, getting treatment. Torre expects him to be back in New York today.

CUBS: Although he doesn't like it, Mark Prior will start the season on the disabled list for a second straight year.

Manager Dusty Baker said that because Prior couldn't throw for a week because of a sore elbow, he needs to build up his endurance. He's scheduled to start for Triple-A Iowa in its season opener at Albuquerque on Thursday.

Last season, Prior started on the DL with Achilles' tendon and elbow problems and missed two months.

The Cubs pared their roster to 25 leading to today's opener at Arizona. The also team sent right-hander Sergio Mitre and outfielder David Kelton to Triple-A Iowa after Saturday's game in Las Vegas. The Cubs also purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Chad Fox from the same team.

Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to start today against the Diamondbacks' Javier Vazquez.

METS: Right-hander Kris Benson felt some tightness while throwing in the bullpen and will not accompany the team to Cincinnati for the season opener. He has been nursing a strained right pectoral muscle and was throwing between starts during the Mets' exhibition game against the Washington Nationals. He was sent to New York after the game for further examination.

The Mets open the season today against the Reds. Benson originally was to start the third game of the season Thursday in Cincinnati, but the pectoral injury moved his projected start back to Saturday.

Benson was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh in July and signed a $22.5-million, three-year contract with the Mets during the offseason.

Also, rightfielder Mike Cameron had a cortisone shot on his surgically repaired left wrist Saturday and remains day to day.

RANGERS: Right-hander Carlos Almanzar was put on the bereavement list after his mother died Saturday night. Regilio, outfielder Laynce Nix and catcher Gerald Laird were optioned to Oklahoma earlier Sunday as the Rangers pared their roster to 25.

Right-handers Pedro Astacio, Joaquin Benoit, Frank Francisco, left-hander Erasmo Ramirez and infielder Greg Colbrunn were placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Texas purchased the minor-league contracts of infielder Mark DeRosa and outfielder Chad Allen, and assigned outfielder Andres Torres, infielders Ian Kinsler and Cody Ransom, and right-handers Vlad Nunez and Keith Stamler to the Rangers' minor-league camp.

ROCKIES: Third baseman Garrett Atkins was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring.

Atkins earned the starting third-base job after hitting .397 this spring. He will be eligible to come off the disabled list April 18.

Colorado recalled third baseman Jeff Baker from Double-A Tulsa. Baker, 23, hit .395 for the Rockies in 22 Cactus League games.

TIGERS: Rightfielder Magglio Ordonez said he has recovered from an intestinal ailment that sidelined him for four days and will be in the opening-day lineup today.

Ordonez, who signed a five-year, $75-million free-agent contract in the offseason, said before the Tigers' workout on Sunday at Comerica Park he was feeling more energetic and had regained the weight he lost. Detroit opens the season against Kansas City.

"Much better," Ordonez said.

Ordonez had been bothered by the ailment known as diverticulitis for about a week, and lost three or four pounds before sitting out Wednesday's exhibition game against Philadelphia.

He was examined by doctors in Lakeland, who diagnosed the condition. Ordonez then went to Detroit to have the team's doctors examine him.

A member of the Chicago White Sox for eight seasons, Ordonez said he really wants to play in the opener for his new team.

"I haven't missed an opener in the last seven years," he said.