Back tightness hindering Pettitte

October 05, 1997|By NEWSDAY

CLEVELAND -- If it isn't bad enough that David Cone is out of the American League Division Series with shoulder tendinitis, there are questions now about Andy Pettitte's back. The New York Yankees don't think Pettitte's ailment is all that serious, but it was learned yesterday that he suffered from lower-back spasms in the days before his disappointing Game 2 start.

Pettitte cruised through three scoreless innings before being shelled in the fourth and fifth innings in the Yankees' 7-5 defeat on Thursday. This has been a pattern in recent weeks, and raises the question whether the "tightness" -- Pettitte's word -- is causing the pitching problems. The training staff has been treating Pettitte for the ailment.

"The other night Andy told me it was not a problem," said team doctor Stuart Hershon. "He had spasms before that."

General manager Bob Watson said Pettitte's sudden troubles during recent games stems from mechanical troubles.

"He loses his mechanics," Watson said. 'Why, I don't know."

If the Yankees reach the next round and Cone is unable to go, they likely would choose a starting pitcher from among Willie Banks, Hideki Irabu and Kenny Rogers.

Pub Date: 10/05/97

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