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 AL 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's season opener against the Red Sox.
"I know it's frustrating for him because he had a good spring overall," Torre said. "It looked like we found something with him, and I still think we have. We just need to get back to where he was in the early part of spring training."
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 next 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 on Monday.
Phillips, 27, made his major league debut last season, appearing in five games and going 2-for-8 with a home run.
"I'm willing to play wherever they need me to help out," he said.