Pettitte set to return Sept. 19 in Baltimore

Pettitte set to return Sept. 19 in Baltimore

ARLINGTON -- Should the Trenton Thunder continue on to secure an Eastern League championship, Andy Pettitte knows where he'd like to see any trinkets from the title re-assigned.

Making a rehab start this week at Waterfront Park in Trenton, N.J., Pettitte was taken with Chase and Derby, a pair of golden retrievers who help out as "batboys" for the Thunder's games.

If Pettitte is due anything for his contributions, maybe the Thunder could let it go to the dogs.

"They do an awesome job. They can put it around their necks or something," Pettitte said, laughing.

Pettitte will get another chance to help the Thunder in their quest toward a title, slated to pitch on Tuesday for Trenton against the winner of the Altoona-Harrisburg series.

Finally free of discomfort from what was termed a "small, persistent strain" of his left groin, the veteran is in good spirits, saying he feels no soreness and is nearly ready to see a Major League lineup.

"I feel like I'm a healthy player and I'm good to go now," Pettitte said. "It's just a matter of building it back up."

Pettitte is expected to go five innings or 80 pitches against his next opponent, and then would slide into the Yankees' rotation on Sept. 19 against the Orioles in Baltimore.

"I want to try to feel great and mentally just start to get everything ready," Pettitte said. "There's no doubt I could pitch in a big league game, but they just do not want to do it. They want me to make another start and be careful. I'll try to be really good to go on Sunday in Baltimore."