Pettitte's next step is throwing off pitcher's mound

Pettitte's next step is throwing off pitcher's mound

Pettitte's next step is throwing off pitcher's mound
NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte said his fractured left ankle felt good Wednesday, a day after he threw three sessions of 20 pitches off flat ground while going into his normal windup for the last 10 or 12 tosses. While he was unsure of the next step, manager Joe Girardi said the hope is for the 40-year-old to throw off a mound this weekend for the first time since he took a comebacker off his push-off foot.

Pettitte estimated he would have to make at least two Major League starts to be prepared for the postseason, likening it to his return from retirement earlier this season, when he felt "out of sorts" in his first game back. But his rehab will be accelerated with the Minor League seasons ending shortly and October approaching.

"This is a tough game, and some of the ways you have to get people back, you have to be somewhat creative," Girardi said. "We'll do that. That's what we're going to do, and we'll figure it out."

Girardi said simulated games at Yankee Stadium could take the place of rehab starts, and he did not dismiss the idea of essentially rehabbing Pettitte in the big leagues, although he recognized that is more difficult with New York's lead atop the American League East sitting at 3 1/2 games entering Wednesday's series finale against Toronto. It is possible, though, given that rosters can expand on Saturday, which allows Girardi a larger bullpen and the potential to lift Pettitte after three or four innings in favor of a reliever as Pettitte builds up his arm strength.

Pettitte said his arm feels good, but he and his manager are both concerned about his stamina.

Pettitte has yet to run, preferring to get himself back on a mound before he takes another step in his recovery. Conditioning in the two months since his June 27 injury was limited to riding a stationary bike and swimming.

"I still know I'm a long ways away, having not gotten on a mound yet," Pettitte said. "Obviously it's frustrating, but I've gotten over that whole point. Now I'm just trying to get to the point to get on a mound and start working to get back."