CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Yankees left-hander Damaso Marte couldn't evade the bullet off Ryan Howard's bat, but he appears to have dodged serious injury.
Pitching in the fifth inning against the Phillies at Bright House Field, the 35-year-old was forced to leave Wednesday's 6-2 defeat after being hit in the lower back by a line drive. He will be sore for the next few days, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
"I asked if he had Bud's signature on there," Girardi said, referring to Commissioner Bud Selig's mark, which adorns every Major League ball. "He said, 'Just seams.'"
Making his spring debut for New York in the bottom of the fifth inning, Marte had already served up a three-run homer to Jayson Werth when Howard hit a hard line drive back up the middle.
Marte was struck in the area above the belt and slowly walked off the field after being inspected on the field by Girardi and assistant athletic trainer Steve Donohue.
He was replaced in the inning by right-hander Amaury Sanit. Marte was seen working out beneath the stadium later in the game, checking out the bruise in a mirror while applying ice.
"It's OK because it's cold now," Marte said.
Marte was 1-3 with a 9.45 ERA in 21 relief appearances last season for the Yankees, but he pitched well in the postseason, including striking out five Phillies in 2 2/3 innings during the World Series. He is envisioned as a safe bet to be in New York's bullpen to open the season, and may be the club's only lefty if it decides not to carry Boone Logan or Royce Ring.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.