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What Will the Yankees Do Without Andy Pettitte?

If there's a silver lining to Andy Pettitte's left groin strain — and we're stretching to find one — it's that it's a Grade 1 strain, the least severe form of the injury. And that even after missing four to five weeks, Pettitte — who's been so consistent all season — should be back in time for the stretch run.

For now, he'll be replaced in the rotation by Sergio Mitre, who will start Saturday against Kansas City. Mitre made two emergency starts back in May, though he hasn't pitched in any capacity since June 4. (He's been on the disabled list himself since June 15 after injuring an oblique muscle taking batting practice.) It's certainly possible they'll stick with Mitre (or some comparable player from within the organization) for the duration of Pettitte's stay on the disabled list. After all, the Yankees won the division last year with Mitre and Chad Gaudin filling the role of fifth starter for much of the season.

Then again, this is a Yankees team that almost traded for Cliff Lee a couple weeks ago, when there wasn't even a rotation spot open for him. Some names already being tossed around: Ted Lilly, Jake Westbrook, and Brett Myers (and perhaps Dan Haren and Fausto Carmona, as well). And of course, Roy Oswalt may be the best pitcher available — but he left his start yesterday, too, with a bruised lower leg after being hit with a batted ball. Unlike Pettitte, however, he should be fine to make his next start.

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images