The Yankees may no longer be looking at that near-deal 10 days ago for Cliff Lee as a luxury. After Andy Pettitte’s injury yesterday, Lee certainly would be considered a necessity.

Pettitte was diagnosed with a Grade 1 left groin strain after a 9-5 win over the Rays. The All-Star pitcher is likely headed to the disabled a list.

“Usually I sit here and say I can pitch through anything, but I was hurt. I was hurt pretty bad,” Pettitte said. “I hope that I feel great [today]. I hope I don’t feel anything. But I’m being pretty realistic when I say they’re pretty cautious here. We just have to see what happens. Hopefully the next couple days it feels better.”


The average recovery time is roughly two to three weeks, but it could take longer for the 38-year-old who has thrown more than 3,000 career innings.

The team will monitor Pettitte’s condition over the next few days. At the very least he’ll miss his next scheduled start on Saturday. Sergio Mitre will take his spot for now.

“We probably won’t know until we get a couple of days in and see how the symptoms are,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You can treat the patient or treat the MRI, and you really have to treat the patient.”

Girardi, pitching coach Dave Eiland and team trainer Gene Monahan first came out to check on Pettitte with one out in the third. To that point, the 11-game winner had allowed three earned runs on six hits.

Pettitte then threw a warm-up pitch and grimaced in pain before leaving the mound.

“I didn’t feel it that bad,” Pettitte said. “I don’t remember what happened. I felt like I landed a little bit awkward and felt a burning sensation in there. I kind of felt something kind of aching me. I felt fine as I threw. As I tried to bring my left leg over the right leg it didn’t feel good at all.”

Chan Ho Park went on to earn the win for the Yankees, who trailed 3-2 when Pettitte exited the game. The middle of the lineup combined for six RBIs, as the Bombers handed American League All-Star starter David Price his fifth loss of the season.

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