OAKLAND, Calif. - The Yankees had barely absorbed the bad news about Mike Mussina's elbow when Al Leiter started getting battered around by the Athletics.
Leiter never made it out of the first inning Friday night, but the A's devastating 12-0 victory had less impact than the revelation that Mussina could miss the rest of the season.
With Jaret Wright still healing from a line drive to his collarbone and neck by Seattle's Raul Ibanez on Thursday, the Yankees have stumbled badly into September.
The A's and Angels now own a one-game wild-card lead over the Yanks, who trail first-place Boston by 3½ games in the AL East. Diagnosed with tendinitis, Mussina will pick up a baseball only when his pain subsides. Therefore, Mussina acknowledged the "possibility" that his season is over following a Friday morning visit to Los Angeles to see Dr. Lewis Yocum.
Mussina underwent X-rays and an MRI, and was told by Yocum to "let it [his elbow] calm down before I do anything else," Mussina said.
Originally, Mussina was going to skip only one turn - today's game against Oakland - with Aaron Small filling in.
Now, "I think it'll be longer than a couple of days, based on what [Yocum] told me," Mussina said. "When it's going to be? I can't say for sure."
Manager Joe Torre is leaving it up to Mussina to decide when he'll pick up a ball again, saying, "It's strictly up to Mike."
A few lockers away from Mussina, Wright still felt pain moving his head from side to side, though, "If there's any way to make [his next start], I'm going to make it," Wright said.
For the first time since he couldn't retire a batter in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series for the Mets at Atlanta, Leiter couldn't make it past the first inning.
All of these occurrences to their pitching rotation couldnt happen to a better team! ... I can only hope the Yankees dont make it to the playoffs. What will Darth Steinbrenner do then ? Who will Georgie Porgie blame? Perhaps if the Yankees dont make to the playoffs, next year Darth will spend 300$ million on his pathetic collection of superstars. Down with the Evil Empire!!!