Notes: Moose OK after rough outing

Notes: Moose feels OK after rough outing

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Mike Mussina's fourth spring start didn't go nearly as well as his third one, as Detroit got to the right-hander for 10 runs on 12 hits over four innings.

Mussina, who tossed five innings of one-run ball against Houston in his last outing, watched his spring ERA balloon from 3.09 to 8.04 with Monday's disastrous start, but he doesn't seem concerned about the outing having a carryover effect.

"As frustrated as I was that the last time didn't count, I'm just as excited that today doesn't count, either," Mussina said. "It can't be much tougher than that. I went out and took my lumps. We'll move on."

"He didn't have good command," manager Joe Torre said. "It was the opposite of what we saw the last time he was out there. He feels fine, so I'm not concerned."

Mussina allowed four runs in the first inning, four in the third and two in the fourth. He served up home runs to Dmitri Young, Brandon Inge and Alexis Gomes in the third, including a moon shot by Gomez which cleared the right-field scoreboard. Mussina gave up a fourth long ball in the fourth, as Magglio Ordonez took him deep.

"You try to learn from the bad days," Mussina said. "If nothing else, I have to remember what these guys were hitting off of me, because I have to pitch against them again."

Mussina insisted that he has no health problems, so Monday's outing was little more than a spring hiccup for him. The 10 runs allowed tied a career-worst for Mussina, who gave up 10 in a game against the Devil Rays in 1999.

"I don't know what went wrong," he said. "Every pitch I put on the corner was either one ball off, or they'd foul it off. Then the balls I put on the plate, they were killing them. It's a day you hope you don't have very many of, but I had one today."

Rocket on hold: The World Baseball Classic ended last week for Roger Clemens, but the future Hall of Famer hasn't yet decided whether to play another season in the Majors.

If Clemens decides to return for a 23rd year, the Yankees are one of four teams he will likely consider, along with the Astros, Rangers and Red Sox.

General manager Brian Cashman said he has no plans to contact Clemens' agent, Randy Hendricks, as he has already expressed interest in bringing the seven-time Cy Young Award winner back for a second stint in the Bronx.

"They know our position. The ball is in their court," Cashman said. "Roger has to make a decision if he wants to play, and if he does, whether he's interested in considering this place."

Clemens isn't likely to make his decision until May, which is the earliest he can return to Houston after not being offered arbitration by the Astros last winter. At the age of 43, Clemens would benefit from a shortened season, anyway, so the Yankees will wait for him to make a decision.

"I can't convince him to pitch; he has to want to pitch," Cashman said. "There's nothing for us to do on our end. We expressed our level of interest."

Scott sidelined: Scott Erickson remained out of commission on Monday, two days after suffering back spasms while working out in the Marlins' weight room in Jupiter, Fla.

Erickson felt his back lock up while working out, then tried to ice it, which only made it worse. He got into bed at noon on Sunday and didn't get up until 8 a.m. ET on Monday, and he said he felt much better after staying off his feet.

"I don't think it could be more disappointing," he said. "Hopefully it will just be a couple of days."

Erickson has pitched well this spring, posting a 2.61 ERA in 10 1/3 innings. He could be in the mix for a bullpen spot, as Jaret Wright and Aaron Small are nursing injuries. Torre nixed the idea of using Erickson as a starter, however, even if the rotation has a hole to fill because of injury.

"We're looking for Erickson in the middle of a game, because he could probably give you two, three or four innings," Torre said. "If he's in the mix, that's probably what his role would be."

Erickson received a Novocain shot on Sunday, which he said helped ease the tightness in his back. He believes he could be back on the mound by Friday, though it will depend on his progress in the next day or two.

"I don't know what my shots were before I got hurt," he said. "Hopefully it doesn't cost me too much."

Feeling all right: Bernie Williams started Monday's game in right field, as the Yankees get the veteran center fielder some work in the corners to increase his versatility.

"That's where he'll have most of his action," Torre said. "I don't think he has to play center field at all, and if we put him out there, it won't be foreign to him."

Williams could see an occasional game in left or right field, as Torre wants to use Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui as the designated hitter from time to time.

Pavano on pace: Carl Pavano will throw his next batting practice session on Wednesday, then a final one on Saturday. That should set him up to make his first start of the spring next Wednesday or Thursday, just before the Yankees break camp.

Pavano is expected to need about 25-30 innings before joining the club in April, though Torre said Monday that the right-hander may even need 35 innings since he hasn't pitched since the middle of last year.

That essentially eliminates the possibility that Pavano could return by April 15, which is the first date the Yankees will need a fifth starter.

"We've been conservative the whole time," Torre said, "so we're not about to try to force him to get enough innings by that date."

With Pavano and Small expected to open the season on the DL, Torre said he is leaning toward taking 11 pitchers on the roster out of camp, opening up another spot for a position player. That player could be catcher Wil Nieves, who is out of Minor League options.

Coming up: The Yankees have their only off-day of the spring on Tuesday, returning to action on Wednesday at Legends Field against the rival Red Sox at 7:15 p.m. ET. Shawn Chacon gets the start for New York. Boston's starter has not been announced.

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