Wright sidelined by back spasms

Wright sidelined by back spasms

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Joe Torre entered the spring with seven starters fighting for five spots. When camp breaks at the end of next week, he'll be happy to have four healthy arms to open the season.

Jaret Wright was the latest pitcher to go down, as he suffered back spasms while participating in pitcher's fielding practice drills. Wright's back locked up as he tried to field a bunt down the third-base line on Sunday, sending him to the trainer's room.

Wright has been in competition with Chien-Ming Wang and Shawn Chacon for the final two starting spots in the rotation, though the Yankees will need just four starters for the first two weeks of the season.

"I don't know if this is going to keep him from being a starter," said Torre. "We'll see how he comes out of it, where he is when he comes back to the mound."

With Carl Pavano set to open the season on the disabled list, Wright looked like the No. 5 starter, which would essentially relegate him to bullpen duty for the first two weeks.

Regardless of Wright's status, the Yankees could open the season with 11 pitchers on the active roster instead of 12, as Pavano and Aaron Small are set to open on the disabled list.

"That's the advantage of having all those people; if you have some kind of a breakdown, then you don't take 12 pitchers, you take 11," Torre said. "I don't feel handicapped in any way."

Wright isn't expected to do much on Tuesday, but he could test his back with a bullpen session on Thursday. Torre felt the club would have a better idea about his schedule by then, though it is unclear whether he will miss a full turn or simply a few days.

Either way, it doesn't appear -- as of now, anyway -- that Wright is in jeopardy of missing the start of the regular season.

"He said it feels much better than yesterday, which is good," said general manager Brian Cashman. "I have no knowledge that he's in doubt [for Opening Day]."

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