With a 40-year-old pitcher, anything can be serious.
Friday, the Yankees put Pettitte on the disabled list, with a strained left trapezius muscle that forced him out of his Thursday night start against the Mariners. Vidal Nuno, who was sent to the minor leagues after making a spot start Monday in Cleveland, will return to take Pettitte's spot in the rotation.
The Yankees have overcome an incredible run of injuries and have managed to stay in first place in the American League East. But the Pettitte injury gives them another challenge, because they have had to rely on their starting rotation to help them win, despite a makeshift lineup.
Pettitte said he expects to return in the minimum 15 days, but he also said he plans to use the time to give his body some rest.
"I'm of the mind-set that if you're DL-ing me, let's take a little blow," he said. "If we're going to rest, let's see how much rest I can get."
General manager Brian Cashman said Pettitte might have avoided the DL if the Yankees had off days coming up, or if they had more rested relievers. The Yankees played a makeup doubleheader this past Monday, and Wednesday night Phil Hughes didn't make it out of the first inning.
"[Pettitte] feels much better, but I don't want to mess with it," Cashman said. "This is the safe play. I didn't expect him to give us 200 innings this year, regardless."
Pettitte said he had hopes of making every start this season, even as he talked about the benefits of getting a breather in mid-May.
While the Yankees have a payroll of more than $200 million, they now have about $97 million of it on the DL. Curtis Granderson returned to the active roster this week, but none of their other DL players are expected back very soon.