NEW YORK (AP) -The New York Yankees lost another starting pitcher Saturday when Jeff Karstens was hit by a line drive, breaking his right leg.
On his first pitch of the game against Boston, Karstens was hit on the side of his knee by Julio Lugo's liner. He won't need surgery and is expected to return this season, team physician Dr. Stuart Hershon said.
``It's not as bad as it could have been,'' Hershon said.
In the clubhouse after the game, Karstens had an air cast on his leg. He won't need a conventional cast, Hershon said.
``They said no throwing tomorrow at least,'' Karstens joked.
The right-hander crumpled to the ground in pain after he was hit by the line drive, and Lugo reached first base with an infield single. A trainer and manager Joe Torre came out of the dugout to check on Karstens, who stayed down for a minute or two before getting up and trying to walk it off.
He received a huge hand from the sellout crowd, threw a few warmup pitches and remained in the game - for the moment.
``I just wanted to stay in there and eat up some innings,'' he said. ``I thought I could keep pitching on it. Come to find out it was cracked - I'm not sure that would've been the smartest thing.''
Karstens (cracked fibula) threw five more pitches, two for strikes. But after he gave up a sharp single to Kevin Youkilis, Torre popped out of the dugout again - with a trainer, again - and pulled the rookie.
It was the latest injury for the team's depleted staff. Already missing starters Mike Mussina (hamstring) and Carl Pavano (forearm), the Yankees picked Karstens over Kei Igawa for Saturday's assignment.
``We've had a lot of stuff happen,'' general manager Brian Cashman said. ``You couldn't print what was going through my head, or what was coming out of my mouth.''
Karstens limped off the mound and was replaced by Igawa, relegated to the bullpen after flopping in his most recent start Monday night against Tampa Bay.
Wearing sunglasses on a cloudy afternoon, Igawa was given as much time as he needed to warm up. The left-hander then shut out the Red Sox for six-plus innings in a 3-1 victory that ended New York's seven-game losing streak, its longest since the final week of the 2000 season.
Karstens wanted updates on the game while he was at the hospital for X-rays, so he sent text messages to a friend who was in the stands at Yankee Stadium. Karstens will go on the disabled list Sunday, and the club will make another move to replace him on the roster.
Karstens (0-1) began the season on the DL with tendinitis in his right elbow. He was in the rotation mainly because of the injuries and ineffectiveness of other Yankees starters. He was roughed up by Boston at Fenway Park in his first outing of the year last Saturday, allowing seven runs and nine hits in 4 1-3 innings.
New York recently got Chien-Ming Wang back from the disabled list. Wang, a 19-game winner last season and runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award, will make his second start of the season Sunday in the series finale against Boston.
Mussina is slated to return to the rotation Thursday night at Texas. Pavano is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, but Cashman said it won't be a full bullpen session.
Karstens was 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA in eight games, including six starts, for the Yankees last season.

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