Small likely to start '06 on disabled list

Small likely to start '06 on disabled list

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Aaron Small will likely open the season on the disabled list, as the Yankees right-hander strained his right hamstring while running on Tuesday.

Although he is not battling for a spot in the starting rotation, Small was scheduled to start in the Yankees' split-squad game in Lakeland, Fla., against the Tigers on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Yankees scratched Small from that start, so they will use either right-hander Matt DeSalvo or left-hander Sean Henn in his place.

"I just tweaked it a little," said Small, who is 0-0 with a 4.05 ERA in three relief outings this spring. "It will set me back a little bit, but I've never done it before, so I don't know how long it will be. They said these things need time to heal, since they have a way of lingering."

Manager Joe Torre said that Small will "probably" open the year on the disabled list, as he won't be able to take part in regular activities for more than a week.

"He probably won't be ready," Torre said. "It's probably going to be 10 days or two weeks."

Even with Carl Pavano expected to join Small on the DL to start the season, the Yankees should have five healthy starters on Opening Day. New York won't need a fifth starter until the third week of April, so that pitcher will take Small's place as the long man in the bullpen.

"We're still going to have that extra starter anyway, only needing four during the first couple of weeks," Torre said. "That will help get us through."

Small will continue a throwing program to keep his arm in shape while his leg heals. He hasn't ruled out being ready for Opening Day, though he didn't sound optimistic.

"I slightly pulled it. It's going to take a little time," Small said. "I hope I'm ready. It remains to be seen."

Mark Feinsand is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.