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Pettitte, Mo progress with simulated game action


TAMPA, Fla. -- It is never an enjoyable task to dig into a batter's box on a 45-degree morning. Having to take those swings against Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera makes it even more of a chore.

The elder statesmen of the Yankees' pitching staff were in fine form throwing simulated games on Sunday outside George M. Steinbrenner Field, providing uncomfortable at-bats for Yanks hitters Matt Diaz and Francisco Arcia.

At one point, after Rivera shattered his bat with a trademark cutter, Diaz jokingly glared toward the mound and shouted, "How do you throw that thing?"

Working in front of pitching coach Larry Rothschild, Rivera threw 21 pitches in his second simulated game of the spring. Pettitte fired 34 pitches over two simulated innings, his first time facing hitters this spring.

"I really have a good idea what I need, especially throwing today," Pettitte said. "Everything's right there, so for me, it's just getting the [bullpen sessions] and repetition and keeping the feel of it, and hopefully being able to carry it right into the game."

Pettitte said that he expects to throw one more simulated game before logging a Spring Training start.

"Whatever it's going to be, it's going to be plenty good for me," Pettitte said. "It's just a matter of building my stamina up now. I feel good."

Rivera said after the session, which included freezing an impressed Arcia looking at a called third strike, that he believes his next outing could come in a Grapefruit League game.

"I think we are ready to do that," Rivera said, though he will wait for manager Joe Girardi to make the final decision.

After fighting back from last May's season-ending knee injury, Rivera said he is not getting too excited about pitching in games yet.

"I'm waiting for 10 months, I can wait another few days," Rivera said. "I just wait patiently. It will be exciting when I'm there, but I've been waiting for a long time, so no rush."

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