TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Mike Mussina allowed two runs over two innings in the New York Yankees' intrasquad game. The linescore meant little because the 39-year-old pitcher is healthy after an injury-filled season in 2007.
``I feel good now,'' Mussina said Wednesday. ``My arm feels good, knock on wood.''
Mussina went 11-10 with a 5.15 ERA in 28 games last season. He hurt his left hamstring in April, and physically things went downhill from there.
``One thing led to another,'' Mussina said. ``When you do a hamstring, hamstrings take a long, long time. Sometimes you need the offseason to heal them up. It never really got right, and it kind of led to other things. It led to, I had a sore knee, I had a bad back, a hip problem. The whole year was just a fight. It wasn't a lot of fun.''
Mussina also sprained his right foot in early June.
``Which had nothing to do with my hamstring, but kind of just added to the problem,'' Mussina said. ``You've got to work through it. There's certain things, if you can't physically go out there and do it, it's one thing. Just a little bit sore, it's different. You go out there and still do your job. It was that way most of the times I went out there. The 27 starts I had, there was probably 22 or 23 of them that I didn't feel very good at all.''
New Yankees manager Joe Girardi said during the offseason that Mussina would be in the rotation.
``We're counting on him,'' Girardi said. ``It's not an accident he has over 200 wins. Moose knows how to pitch. We're counting on him.''
Mussina appreciates that Girardi didn't come with a new plan that might have left him out of the rotation.
``I'm just thankful that they're still giving me a chance to go out there and do what I've been doing for as long as I've been a pitcher,'' Mussina said.
Mussina had three consecutive bad starts last August, allowing 20 runs over 9 2-3 innings. The right-hander did turn it around in September, going 3-0 in five starts.
``He had one real bad month, but he bounced back,'' Girardi said. ``Funny thing is, if you're young and you have a real bad month, they say you're not ready. In the middle of your career and you have a bad month, they say you have a bad month. But if you're old, they say you're done. I don't believe that's the case.''
Also, Jeff Karstens, who missed most of last season after his right leg was broken by a liner off the bat of Boston's Julio Lugo on April 28, allowed one hit in two scoreless innings.
With the emergence of Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, Karstens is likely competing for a bullpen spot.
``I'll just go about my business, and let things take care of themselves,'' Karstens said. ``Everything happens for a reason.''
Notes: RHP Scott Patterson is day to day with a bruised right ankle. He was hit by a batted ball in Wednesday's intrasquad game. ... Non-roster RHP Scott Strickland will not throw for the next few days due to a stiff right elbow. ... Individual tickets for 2008 Yankees regular-season home games go on sale Friday online at www.yankees.com and www.yankeesbeisbol.com.
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