Clemens told Yankees manager Joe Torre that his elbow was troubling him during the fourth inning of a 7-1 loss to Seattle in which he allowed three runs, including a two-run double to Yuniesky Betancourt.
"It didn't start bothering him until the fourth," Torre said. "In Roger's case, there are a lot of things that he deals with on a regular basis. I know we checked with him twice today before he went out."
The 45-year-old right-hander was sent for a MRI exam at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. In 16 starts plus one relief appearance for the Yankees, Clemens is 6-6 with a 4.45 ERA. He did not speak to reporters before leaving Yankee Stadium.
The elbow ailment, a grabbing sensation, is something that has bothered Clemens on and off this season, Torre said. Clemens dealt with the issue last season while pitching for the Astros, and Torre speculated that the pain could date as far back as Clemens' first go-round in pinstripes, which ended in 2003.
"It's happened earlier this year, too, the same type of thing," Torre said. "He's dealt with it and come back and pitched some gems. ... It's something that comes and goes. It doesn't mean it's debilitating. It just means it's muscular stuff."
Catcher Jorge Posada said that he did not have any conversations on Monday about Clemens' discomfort, though he acknowledged that the Yankees have known about the current condition for at least one start. Clemens limited the Red Sox to one run and two hits over six innings in his last effort.
"He had no limitations at all," Posada said. "I called every pitch like nothing was wrong. I didn't see anything wrong."
Because Clemens had been dealing with a variety of physical issues in the week following his start against Boston, including blisters on his right foot and general arm weariness, the Yankees were not even sure if he would make his scheduled start on Monday. Mike Mussina was dispatched to the bullpen for Clemens' warmup session just in case the Rocket had to be scratched, but Clemens insisted that he was ready for the ball.
"Roger certainly knows his body better than anybody else," Torre said. "Just from my experience, I don't think there's a pitcher around that doesn't take some kind of baggage to the mound. The guy has been around for a long time. I have to really trust him to the point of what he has to deal with. It's not uncharted waters for him."
Torre said that the Yankees are likely to pass over Clemens' next turn in the rotation, which could line up for Friday or Saturday at Kansas City, depending on how the Yankees deal with Thursday's off-day.
"I think for safety's sake, we're probably going to want to skip [Clemens] one time," Torre said. "Hopefully, that's all it is."
That start could go to Mussina, who pitched 3 2/3 innings of two-run ball in relief on Monday in his first appearance since being lifted from the Yankees rotation following three ineffective starting performances.
"I'll prepare for whenever it's going to be," Mussina said. "When you send somebody for a MRI, they tend to miss a turn. I might be pitching in Roger's turn the next time around. We'll wait and see."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.