New York Yankees starter Andy Pettitte broke his left fibula where it meets his ankle and is expected to miss at least six weeks after he was hit by a batted ball during Wednesday's 5-4 win over the Cleveland Indians.
The Yankees say they expect the break to heal without surgery. The injury came on the same day the Yankees placed left-hander CC Sabathia on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin.
Right-hander Adam Warren is set to be called up from Triple-A on Thursday to make the Friday start that Sabathia was scheduled for. Freddy Garcia is slated to go Monday in Pettitte's spot, and the Yankees are getting David Phelps to pitch deeper into games in the minors with an eye toward bringing him back to the big club as a starter.
General manager Brian Cashman said he didn't want to make a trade to replace Pettitte in the rotation. Garcia has improved his velocity and command recently, and has been an effective starter most of his career. That includes a start in a playoff game he made for New York last season.
"Phelps is a guy, who, if he were stretched out, would be our prime candidate," Cashman said. "We'll just have to figure it out. I would prefer not to go outside."
On the play, Casey Kotchman's low line drive hit Pettitte near his left ankle, the one the left-hander pushes off with. Pettitte took a step toward the ball near the third base line before gently dropping to the infield grass.
Pettitte tried to stay in the game, but manager Joe Girardi removed him when he came up limping after throwing one live pitch. Pettite, who spoke to reporters after the game on crutches — while clutching a tiny plastic bag with a few white pills in it — said it hurt too much to push off properly when he was facing a batter.
"I've been hit in the shin, in that area, so many times and I've never had to come out of a game," Pettitte said. "As soon as I threw that first pitch, I had an awful lot of pain, all the way down to my foot."
Pettitte (3-3) retired after the 2010 postseason but returned to the Yankees this spring to shore up New York's pitching rotation, which at the time had already lost Michael Pineda at the time to shoulder surgery.
Pettitte, who has a 243-141 career record, is in his 14th season with New York. He also spent three years with Houston. On both clubs, he was a teammate of Roger Clemens, and he testified at Clemens' recent perjury trial.
With Pettitte out, Derek Jeter is now the only Yankee on the field from the club's Core Four of players who won four World Series titles from 1996-2000. Mariano Rivera is out with a season-ending knee injury and Jorge Posada retired.
"No one's going to feel sorry for us," Girardi said. "Guys have to step up."