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Willis will undergo precautionary test

At this point, it doesn't sound too bad.

Dontrelle Willis was removed from Sunday's season finale against he Philadelphia Phillies because of a sore left triceps after throwing just 19 pitches. But, even though the pitcher is scheduled to undergo further testing today as a precaution, the injury is not believed serious.

''He was trying to stay in like he always wants to,'' said manager Joe Girardi, who lifted Willis in the top of the second inning. ``I had to convince him he's got to think long-term and next year for this club.''

One of the reasons I championed Willis pitching in the final game of the series is that I knew the team would have a catcher behind the plate who knew his pitcher inside out.

Willis balked at leaving the game when Girardi and trainer Mike Kozak visited the mound for the second time in the inning after catcher Matt Treanor had alerted them that something wasn't right with the pitcher.

There is more to catching than just being some guy behind the plate who receives the ball.  An important part of the position is knowing your pitchers and when their motion changes.

Dontrelle was none too happy about being removed.

''I'm a selfish guy when it comes to that,'' Willis said. ``What good am I if I can't pitch? What good am I if I can't do what got me here?''

Willis, a workhorse, has thrown a total of more than 250 innings over the past two seasons, not including his participating in the World Baseball Classic last winter. He said he has experienced fatigue in the triceps before.

Sunday's game was rendered virtually meaningless after the Phillies were eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday. But Willis refused to believe that.

''There ain't no game that's meaningless,'' he said.

Girardi said Willis has tendinitis of the triceps, but X-rays taken Sunday showed no damage. Willis is also scheduled for an MRI today.

Hopefully this nothing to worry about.  And he has the whole off-season to recuperate and rest his arm.

Was starting Willis a bad decision: I still don't think so.  We had the right guy behind the plate monitoring him.  This type of injury can happen at anytime during the season.  If a pitcher isn't "loose" when he enters the game, this kind of thing happens.