- Associated Press - Sunday, July 18, 2010

NEW YORK (AP) - Andy Pettitte left the New York Yankees‘ game against Tampa Bay in the third inning Sunday because of a strained left groin.

The pitcher was taken to New York-Presbyterian Hospital for an MRI, the Yankees said.

Making his first start since pitching in the All-Star game Tuesday night, the 38-year-old left-hander never appeared comfortable on a humid, 91-degree afternoon. He made a diving play on Carl Crawford’s sacrifice bunt in the first inning, moments before giving up a three-run homer to Carlos Pena.

Pettitte flexed his left leg after falling behind in the count 3-1 to Kelly Shoppach in the third. Yankees manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Dave Eiland and trainer Gene Monahan came out to check on Pettitte, who grimaced through a warmup pitch and then bent over at the knees before coming out of the game.

He was replaced by David Robertson with New York trailing 3-2. All-Star lefty David Price was on the mound for the Rays in the rubber game of a three-game series.

Pettitte’s injury presented an immediate problem. The Yankees lacked an available long man Sunday because starter A.J. Burnett lasted only two-plus ineffective innings in a 10-5 loss Saturday, leaving the game with cuts on both hands following an angry fit in the clubhouse.

Dustin Moseley tossed three innings in relief of Burnett, and Chad Gaudin followed with four.

Frustrated by his outing, Burnett slammed open a set of double doors during the second inning Saturday, slicing both palms on the plastic lineup-card holders fastened to the entry. A day later, he said he apologized to his teammates for the outburst.

Burnett said he’ll make his next scheduled start Friday night against Kansas City. Pettitte’s status, however, was uncertain.