Notes: Pitchers catch injury bug

Notes: Pitchers finding way to trainer's office

TAMPA, Fla. -- The list of pitchers checking into trainer Gene Monahan's office is growing.

One day after right-hander Humberto Sanchez was pushed back from a scheduled live batting practice session with tightness in his right forearm, two more Yankees hurlers have been sidelined with Spring Training injuries.

Reliever Brian Bruney had been complaining of a sharp sticking pain in his lower left back -- he compared it to the sensation of being stabbed by a knife -- and manager Joe Torre confirmed Sunday that the 25-year-old right-hander will be put out of action for "four or five days."

"It just wouldn't go away," Torre said. "It's not something that's serious, but it's something that if you don't shut him down, it was probably going to hang on."

Additionally, left-hander Ben Kozlowski was scratched from a scheduled session on Sunday with an intercostal abdominal strain, and is likely to be shut down for at least two days.

Kozlowski, 26, had originally been selected as one of the eight hurlers slated to pitch live batting practice at Legends Field on Sunday.

Kozlowski said that he first felt the injury while reaching back for a fastball last week during a batting practice session on a back diamond of the Yankees' complex, wincing when a sharp sensation began to pang his left side.

A non-roster invitee to Yankees camp, Kozlowski said he wrestled Saturday evening with his injury, trying to decide whether or not to inform the team's medical staff.

Eventually, Kozlowski said he reached the right decision.

"I could either throw through this," Kozlowski said, "or do the professional thing and report it to the trainers. That's what I did."

As for Sanchez, the burly right-hander returned to action on Sunday, throwing in a session on a back field with Torre in attendance. Sanchez said he "feels good, for the most part," and no longer feels the tightness that prevented him from throwing with the Yankees' starters on Saturday.

"He looked a lot better," Torre said. "He didn't look like he tried to muscle it today. He was a lot smoother."

Showing his stuff: Torre said he was pleased by the velocity shown by left-hander Ron Villone, who led a contingent of Yankees relievers pitching behind the Legends Field diamond.

Villone, 37, is in camp this year as a non-roster invitee, but Torre said he can already see a major difference between Villone's ability during last Spring Training.

Villone was 3-3 with a 5.04 ERA in 70 appearances for New York last season, and would figure to be a candidate to make the club if Torre opts to carry a second left-hander behind side-arming Mike Myers.

"Last year, at this time, we didn't see the arm strength we saw today," Torre said. "He's certainly qualified. We liked just about everything about him last year."

Facing off: Torre announced his probable pitchers for Tuesday's intrasquad scrimmage, though right-hander Carl Pavano -- who was sent for MRIs and X-rays on his injured left foot Sunday -- is not currently listed among them.

The exhibition will range anywhere from nine to 11 innings and is highlighted by the appearance of Japanese left-hander Kei Igawa, who will face Yankees hitters for the first time without a batting cage.

Other pitchers slated to pitch in the game are: Colter Bean, Chris Britton, Tyler Clippard, Steven Jackson, Jeff Karstens, Jeff Kennard, Villone, Kevin Whelan and Chase Wright.

Due back: Torre said that outfielder Johnny Damon, who has been excused from camp for personal reasons, could rejoin the club on Monday. Damon met with Cashman and Torre on Friday and informed them of the reasons for his requested absence, which have thus far remained unspecified. Torre said Damon could speak to the matter if he so chooses upon his return.

The memory card: Britton's locker neighbor is right-hander Mike Mussina, and the two spent a recent morning comparing notes from their Baltimore Orioles pedigrees.

Mussina hasn't donned the black and orange since 2000, but his memories of the club's Spring Training are still sharp.

The location may have changed, as the Birds now train in Fort Lauderdale, but most of the team-specific routines continue to be consistent with the present-day, as the 24-year-old reliever informed him.

"Amazing," Mussina remarked at one point.

The Yankees present a new beginning for Britton, who appeared in 52 games for the Orioles last season, compiling a 3.35 ERA before being dealt in November's Jaret Wright deal.

Britton said he was "totally surprised" by the news of the deal, saying that he hadn't seen a trade coming, but noted that change can be viewed as a positive thing.

"All the guys are good and the coaches are great," Britton said. "I've just got to learn a new way of doing stuff because I've been with the Orioles for so long. The biggest thing right now is trying to remember everybody's name and get everything right."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.