The wins are piling up for the Yankees. So are the nagging injuries.

For the third time this week a Yankees victory was dampened by a player’s pain, and this time it belonged to Andy Pettitte. The 37-year-old left-hander began experiencing left elbow stiffness after the fifth inning of yesterday’s 7-5 victory over the Orioles. General manager Brian Cashman said Pettitte (4-0) could miss at least one start after an MRI revealed mild inflammation in the elbow.

“Anytime you’re talking about the area around the elbow, you start to worry a little bit,” Pettitte said through a team spokesman.


Pettitte’s stiffness actually started Friday but disappeared following treatment. He threw his normal bullpen session in between starts and said he felt fine until midway through yesterday’s game.

Pettitte threw just 77 pitches in five innings before he was pulled out of the game.

“He wanted to stay in,” pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “We kind of had to drag it out of him a little bit. The expression on his face told him the story.”

Pettitte is the third member of the Yankees’ core four to go down this week. Catcher Jorge Posada was given another day off yesterday to rest his aching calf, while closer Mariano Rivera was passed over for a third straight game as he comes back from stiffness in his left side.

“It tempers it a little bit,” manager Joe Girardi said. “But you’re going to go through a little aches and pains. You have to deal with them. You really have to pay attention to them when guys bring them up to you and you work around them.”

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