The Yankees' medical report could have been worse. Pettitte's injury, a strain of the left trapezius muscle, located just below the neck in the back, was such that the veteran pitcher resisted a bit when he was told of the plan.
Indeed, his stated preference was to skip his between-starts bullpen session and then start Tuesday, as had been scheduled. As it is, Cashman said he expects Pettitte to return to the rotation after the 15-day assignment ends.
The operative characters in this latest DL drama is Pettitte's age -- 40. Few injuries to players on the north side of the age Jack Benny feared are minor. Moreover, the best case scenario hasn't visited the Yankees too often this season when injuries have been involved. Pettitte is the 13th player on the DL for the Yanks, and most of the 13 figured prominently in the club's plans for 2013.
The Yankees seem to be the most injured team in the game. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons referred to them before the game as "that MASH unit over there." They have used 35 players thus far. But Gibbons' team has used 36, as have the Angels. The Astros have used 37.
The Yankees, however, do seem to have the most DL assignments among critical players -- Pettitte, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, Alex Rodriguez, Ivan Nova, Joba Chamberlain, Eduardo Nunez, Francisco Cervelli, Michael Pineda. And Curtis Granderson was activated earlier this week.
Their injured are so numerous that Cashman acknowledged Friday that he just hasn't inquired about the status of some. His plate is filled with braces, gauze, splints, casts and assorted medical what-not. And FYI: Cashman has recently shed the outer ankle brace he had worn since his sky-diving accident in Spring Training. He now wears an unseen brace under his slacks.
Cashman said the club -- by that, he meant doctors, trainers, coaches, Joe Girardi and himself -- discussed Pettitte's situation Thursday and again Friday. The intent was to "play it safe," he said. He and the pitcher noted they didn't want to risk having him try to pitch Tuesday and then come up sore or suffering spasms as he did Thursday night. Moreover, Nuno pitched so well against the Indians on Monday -- six baserunners in five innings in a 7-0 victory -- that the general manager had an attractive alternative available.
Incidentally, Cashman said he never considered Nova as an option.
He also noted, "I wasn't in position to carry an extra man and hope that it got resolved. I didn't want to kick the can down the road and roll with it. And I don't think it would be in Andy's best interest."
When Nuno will start was undecided. He was due to pitch Saturday with the Yankees' Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre affiliate. Cashman said the club might have the 25-year-old remain on schedule and start against the Blue Jays on Saturday. The determination was to be made by Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild.