Pettitte: 'I think I'm over the hump' in recovery

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte is still awaiting word from doctors that he is in the clear in his recovery from a fractured left ankle, but after throwing a 35-pitch bullpen session Sunday and pushing off harder than he did his last time on the mound, Pettitte and the Yankees believe the left-hander made significant progress.

"I think he's making a lot of progress now," said manager Joe Girardi. "The fact that he's off the mound, he's comfortable and he's recovering fine tells me he's on the path to getting back."

Pettitte and the Yankees are still taking his rehab day by day, but Girardi said they are beginning to map out a return, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild is starting to talk about how to slot Pettitte back into the rotation.

Rothschild told Pettitte he looked great during the bullpen session, and the 40-year-old lefty said he had good command of his pitches. Girardi expects Pettitte to throw again Wednesday, but is unsure of the setting. Pettitte said there was talk of throwing batting practice, so he can pitch with someone in the batter's box for the first time since he took a comebacker off his ankle on June 27.

Pettitte said he tried not to think about his ankle on the mound, applying more pressure as he pushed off. And he said he felt good afterward, and was confident he would remain that way.

"Just from the last few days and the last time I threw, I felt like I knew I was going to come in the next day and feel good," Pettitte said. "Walking around and stuff like that, I didn't feel any pressure, where I might have felt it seven or 10 days ago. I think I'm over the hump."