Hernandez, Wells scratched because of sore backsPosted: Monday May 20, 2002 6:13 PM
Updated: Monday May 20, 2002 11:33 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Bad backs in the Bronx are as contagious as winning.
Yankees pitcher Orlando Hernandez missed his scheduled start against Toronto on Monday night because of pain in his upper back, and David Wells was scratched from Tuesday night's start because of pain in his lower back.
Both are scheduled for MRI exams Tuesday.
Mike Mussina will start Tuesday and Ted Lilly on Wednesday, both on three days' rest. If Wells can't pitch in Thursday's series opener at Boston, the Yankees will bring up a starter from Class AAA Columbus.
"When he went out for his last start, it didn't feel wonderful," Yankees manager Joe Torre said of Wells, who overcame offseason back surgery to earn a spot in New York's rotation. "We all assumed it was going to loosen up."
Hernandez, too, has been hurting since last week. Last Wednesday, El Duque lost for the first time in six starts since April 12, allowing eight runs and six hits in 1 2/3 innings during a 10-7 defeat to Tampa Bay. After leaving the game, Hernandez (4-2) complained about tightness in his back.
"I thought yesterday I could pitch today, but it didn't happen," Hernandez said.
It was the second time this year Hernandez missed a start, and both have been against the Blue Jays. On April 11 at Toronto, Hernandez failed to pitch because of a sore neck and was replaced by Roger Clemens, who went on three days' rest and lost 11-3.
Hernandez said the pain feels like gas and that he was taking massages and other treatment. The team scheduled him for an MRI exam Tuesday.
For now, Yankees manager Joe Torre expects Hernandez to take his next turn in the rotation on Saturday at Boston.
"Last time he went out there when he wasn't quite right and he couldn't go through two innings," Torre said. "I told him last time you're not doing yourself any good, first of all, and you're not doing us any good."
The Yankees have seven quality starting pitchers, with Clemens, Hernandez, Mussina, Wells and Lilly currently in the rotation, and Andy Pettitte on the disabled list.
Sterling Hitchcock replaced Hernandez in Monday's 6-3 win over Toronto, and allowed three runs and four hits in four-plus innings. He started the season on the disabled list because of a strained lower back and was activated May 8.
He made his first appearance in relief of Hernandez last Wednesday. He also pitched two innings in Friday's 13-12, 14-inning win over Minnesota, giving up three RBI singles in the 14th, but got the win when Jason Giambi hit a grand slam in the bottom half of the inning. Hitchcock made 40 pitches.