Marte leaves after being struck by liner

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Yankees left-hander Damaso Marte was forced to leave Wednesday’s game after being hit in the lower back by a line drive.

Pitching against the Phillies at Bright House Field, Marte was making his spring debut for New York in the bottom of the fifth inning. He had already served up a three-run homer to Jayson Werth when Ryan Howard hit a hard line drive back up the middle.

Marte appeared to be struck above the belt, and hunched over in pain between third base and the mound as he was attended to by Yankees manager Joe Girardi and assistant athletic trainer Steve Donohue.

He slowly walked off the field and was replaced in the inning by right-hander Amaury Sanit. Marte, 35, was 1-3 with a 9.45 ERA in 21 relief appearances last season for the Yankees but pitched well in the postseason and is envisioned as a safe bet for New York’s bullpen to open the season.

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