Girardi keeps tabs on Pettitte's progress

Girardi keeps tabs on Pettitte's progress

BALTIMORE -- Andy Pettitte was just about to call it a night on Monday when he accepted a call from manager Joe Girardi, who was checking on Pettitte after the left-hander had thrown three innings in a Florida State League game.

"I called him last night; he was almost asleep," Girardi said on Tuesday. "I got him out of bed to see how he did. He threw the ball well. He was pleased and pretty excited about how he threw."

Pettitte, 39, permitted one run on two hits for the Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees against the Clearwater Threshers in Clearwater, Fla. Pettitte walked none and struck out two, throwing 26 of his 32 pitches for strikes, and he remains on track to rejoin the big league club in early May.

Girardi said that he will watch Pettitte's outings more closely when he gets in the range of five innings and 75 pitches, which is probably about two turns away. Pettitte is next expected to pitch on Sunday for Tampa against Clearwater at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

"Obviously, he has meant so much to this organization," Girardi said. "We know what he's capable of doing. He's used to pitching in this division. It is exciting. It does seem like it's a ways away, but this month should go pretty fast for us, because we do play every day. A lot of times, April will go slow because you have a lot of off-days, but we don't."