Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon is expected to miss at least a few days of spring training for personal reasons.

"I think it's going to be some time," Manager Joe Torre said yesterday. "A few days or something. He has some personal things he has to attend to, and we just gave him that ability."

Damon was given permission to leave camp after talking with Torre and General Manager Brian Cashman following Friday's workout.

"He spoke to Joe and me about it, so obviously he's not in camp with permission," Cashman said. "When he returns, he'll be able to talk about it to whatever degree he wants to."

Damon, slowed by a sore shoulder and a broken bone in his foot last season, hit .285 with 24 homers and 80 RBI in 149 games. . . .

Carl Pavano's 13th pitch in batting practice was an unlucky one. The Yankees right-hander was hit on the bottom of his left foot by a liner off the bat of infielder Alberto Gonzalez during his second BP session.

Although Pavano is experiencing some foot stiffness, the team doesn't believe the injury is serious. After one warmup toss, he threw 27 more pitches to complete his workout.

· RED SOX:Photographers jammed the left field line from home plate to third base. Daisuke Matsuzaka threw the first pitch of his first batting practice. Then he threw 43 more -- fastballs, curves, sliders and changeups. When the Japanese star was done, Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell gave him a positive review.

"He's as advertised," Farrell said. "He really is."

Manager Terry Francona has seen as much scrutiny of a batting practice session, if not more, when he managed a star from another sport at Class AA Birmingham in the Chicago White Sox' system in 1994.

"Remember, I had Michael Jordan," Francona said, "and this guy can't dunk."

· MARINERS:Reliever Mark Lowe will have arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow this week, pushing back his potential return to June or later.

· ROCKIES:Veteran outfielder Steve Finley signed a minor league contract with the club. He is a nonroster invitee at Colorado's spring training camp.

Finley, who turns 42 next month, has played 18 major league seasons. He hit .246 last year with the Giants, including six home runs and 40 RBI. He's a career .272 hitter with 303 home runs and 320 career stolen bases, one of only six players ever with 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases.