NEW YORK (AP) _ Andy Pettitte was forced out of a start early for the second straight time because of an injury.

With one out in the fourth, Pettitte shortened up on his delivery of a 2-0 pitch to Robin Ventura. Manager Joe Torre and trainer Steve Donohue came out to the mound, and after a brief talk, removed Pettitte and brought in Ramiro Mendoza.

There was no immediate word on Pettitte's injury.

Pettitte left his previous start _ last Friday against Atlanta _ in the sixth inning with tightness in his left groin.

The Yankees held Pettitte back an extra day for this start as a precaution. But Pettitte said he felt healthy all week.

He didn't take a full swing in his two times at the plate, taking five pitches and bunting at two others. He had one play in the field, when he had to rush off the mound to feel a slow roller from Rey Ordonez to end the second inning.

Pettitte allowed only two hits _ solo homers to Joe McEwing and Benny Agbayani _ and struck out six before leaving with a 4-2 lead.

Mendoza came on and threw two straight balls to Ventura, but the walk was charged to Pettitte. Ventura later scored on Desi Relaford's single.

New York's starting pitching already is thin, with Orlando Hernandez undergoing surgery on an injured left toe Friday.

There has been talk that the Yankees had interest in David Wells of the Chicago White Sox.

Pettitte has been the Yankees' most durable starter this season, completing at least six innings in his first 12 starts before leaving the past two early. He is 7-4 with a 3.07 ERA.