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Going down right and left

All Joe Girardi could do was shrug. His team was basically healthy the first six weeks of training camp but that worm has turned in a bad way this week (though, from most accounts it could still be much worse).

“It’s frustrating because we were extremely healthy,” Girardi said. “You kind of wish you had another week in a sense to make sure these guys are good. But it is what it is.”

Before today's game it was lefty Damaso Marte scratched from a scheduled appearance because of what he called a “cranky” left shoulder he felt during a long toss session.

Then in the first inning Nick Johnson – cue the here-we-go-again groans – left the game after fouling a pitch off the inside of his right knee.

Both are questionable for Sunday’s season opener in Boston, as are Alfredo Aceves (lower back), Francisco Cervelli (Grade 1 hamstring strain) and Jorge Posada (stiff neck).

All the carnage started Monday night in Sarasota when Mark Teixeira took a Jeremy Guthrie fastball off his right elbow.

Teixeira appears to have fully recovered and general manager Brian Cashman said, “No, I don’t think so,” when asked if there were plans to bring a third catcher to Boston, an indication the Yankees, as of today, don't consider the Posada and Cervelli's problems to be serious.

Still, it's not what you want a day before leaving for Boston.

"Frustrating," Girardi said.

Johnson said “yes” when asked if he’ll play Sunday but Girardi wasn't as certain.

“I’m somewhat concerned about Sunday,” Girardi said. “He hit himself hard. It’s like taking a liner off the knee.”

"It’s stiff, sore right now," Johnson said. "Not going to do anything tomorrow, do some treatments and see how it feels.”

Johnson was pleased no X-rays or further diagnostic tests were deemed necessary.

“Don’t need to go down that route,” said Johnson, who's traveled down it far more times than he cares to recall in his career. “I want to be able to stay out on that field.”

Aceves brought some good news to the Yankees after throwing an eight-pitch inning across the street at the minor league complex.

“I didn’t feel nothing in my back,” Aceves said, who added he "absolutely" would play Sunday.

*** I figured there might be some blowback from Girardi's comments after, and during, Monday's game in Sarasota regarding Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie, who hit Teixeira and Francisco Cervelli. It apparently came today.

After Mariano Rivera hit Felix Pie in the foot in the sixth, Girardi came out to talk to the closer, who would end up being charged with three unearned runs in the inning because of a throwing error. Rivera said the visit was because he had been feeling ill recently – a combination of allergies and a cold – but Girardi said he heard something from the Orioles dugout that caused Rivera to step off the mound. Girardi said he didn’t think it was directed specifically at the closer.  

“It might have been in response to my frustration the other day,” Girardi said. “It’s OK.”

*** Another reminder: Live Chat III, from Boston, Monday morning at 11.

New York Sports