ARLINGTON, Texas -- The New York Yankees fired their strength and conditioning coach Wednesday following a rash of injuries to the pitching staff that has contributed to the team's poor start.
Marty Miller was hired by the Yankees in the offseason as director of performance enhancement. He had been with the club only a few months.
"It got to the point where the perception is there's a problem here," general manager Brian Cashman said.
The 34-year-old Miller will be replaced on an interim basis by Dana Cavalea, who was Miller's assistant.
"The knowledge that Marty had was certainly impressive," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Now, does that mean that because you know a lot about the body, it relates to baseball? That's what we don't know."
The latest injury to New York's depleted staff came Tuesday night, when Phil Hughes carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of his second major league start before a hamstring injury knocked him out of the game against the Texas Rangers. The 20-year-old right-hander, considered one of the top prospects in baseball, is expected to miss four to six weeks.
Hughes was called up from Triple-A Scranton to fill a spot in the team's injury-ravaged rotation. Mike Mussina (hamstring), Carl Pavano (forearm) and Jeff Karstens (broken right leg) are on the disabled list.
Chien-Ming Wang also missed the first three weeks of the season with a hamstring injury. He is expected to start Saturday after breaking a nail on his pitching hand in his most recent start.
Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon, bothered by a bad back and sore legs much of the season, said Miller introduced conditioning tools that some players weren't accustomed to using -- but also agreed to bring in equipment that players requested.
Still, Damon thought it was unusual that so many pitchers succumbed to hamstring problems, an injury more common for position players.
"I think when you get a number of pitchers go down with the same problem, it opens up eyes and it makes you start thinking there might need to be a change," Damon said.
The Yankees entered Wednesday night's game at Texas with a 10-14 record that left them in last place in the AL East. The slow start roused owner George Steinbrenner to issue a statement Monday rebuking the $195 million team for its record but also supporting Cashman and Torre.
The Yankees fired first-year strength and conditioning coach Marty Miller on Wednesday, on the heels of yet another hamstring injury to one of their players.
Right-hander Philip Hughes was throwing a no-hitting against the Rangers on Tuesday when he went down with a hamstring injury that will sideline him four to six weeks. In addition to Hughes, pitchers Chien-Ming Wang and Mike Mussina and outfielder Hideki Matsui also have missed time this season due to an assortment of muscle pulls and strains. Johnny Damon has been slowed by a back problems.
Cashman, who hired Miller last offseason to replace Jeff Mangold, made the determination on Wednesday morning. Cashman called George Steinbrenner, who signed off on the decision.
Though the rash of similar injuries possibly could be explained by bad luck, Cashman determined that cause and effect could not be ruled out. Sources say Miller's methods were not popular with the Yankees, and the players were in near-revolt over the situation. Miller's approach included a de-emphasis of running as a way to build leg strength.