The barrel of the bat came hurling at Andy Pettitte in the first inning with the ball just feet away from it. Which one should he shy away from?
"That was easy," the Yankees left-hander said following his three-inning outing against the Reds on Wednesday night. "The bat's going to hurt a lot more if I get hit with it than the ball."
Pettitte, though, was nicked on the ring finger of his pitching hand by a sliver of wood, causing some blood and swelling. The medical staff looked at it and, with some urging by the left-hander, gave Pettitte the go-ahead to finish his stint.
In the next inning, Pettitte showed his moxie when he worked out of a no-out, loaded-bases situation.
He struck out Javier Valentin on three straight pitches, then induced Juan Castro into an inning-ending double play when he threw his only cutter of the night.
"My command wasn't the best tonight, but I was able to work all my pitches," said Pettitte, who threw 49 pitches, 27 for strikes. "I don't know what it was tonight. Getting hit on the hand might have affected it a bit, or it might have been pitching at night. But the good thing was that I was able to face some situations to work out of."
After the game, in which Pettitte allowed three hits, walked two and struck out one, he said the swelling had gone down and his finger had been bandaged.
Joe Torre didn't seem too worried, either. Torre said trainer Gene Monahan looked at Pettitte when they visited him on the mound and allowed him to keep pitching.
"Geno, who I trust, felt it was no danger, and Andy understands the situation," said Torre. "During the season, he might go out there and keep pitching only because of the nature of his competitiveness. But here, in Spring Training, he knows whether it's bad enough that he should take himself out of the game."
Catcher Jorge Posada said Pettitte's command was a little erratic, but he was happy with how he battled out of trouble.
"His command was a little bit all over the place," said Posada. "But he got the pitch when he needed it. He was good. Good changeup, good curveball. He worked all the pitches, which is good for him."
Get well soon: Reliever Brian Bruney visited the doctors on Tuesday and was relieved to find out he only has a viral infection.
He used the word "only" because he said he was concerned that it might be another case of pneumonia, which he has had four times in his life.
"The last time I had it was when I was 13 years old and I remember lying on the couch coughing up ... into the trash can for three days," said Bruney, who had a 103-degree temperature earlier this week. "I still feel like I have no energy, and I probably lost something like four or five pounds [Tuesday] because of dehydration."
Bruney is fighting for a spot in the bullpen and just recovered from a sore back.
"This is the worst spring I've had," said Bruney, who is in his seventh year as a professional. "It's tough because it seems like it's one thing after another. I've never had a spring like this. But at least it's happening early in camp. I'm at the point where I have to work through it and get my reps in."
Bruney tossed a 25-pitch bullpen session Wednesday and is scheduled to throw one more this weekend before pitching in a game.
Ouch! Todd Pratt had X-rays on his left foot on Tuesday and found out he has been suffering from plantar fasciitis, an overuse injury affecting the sole of the foot. The 39-year-old catcher, who is vying for a backup role, first realized the pain just after the intrasquad game on Feb. 27, but decided to work through it.
Pratt's foot gradually got better with some therapy and ice treatment but then, against the Rays on March 2, he felt it pop up again.
"I thought it was going to get better, but it hasn't," said Pratt, who took batting practice before Wednesday's game for the first time in four days.
Pratt, who has been wearing a splint at night, said he and Torre discussed it and felt it was best to rest it until it was completely healed. He said that he hopes to play in a game sometime this weekend.
A spark of Bubba: Former Yankees outfielder Bubba Crosby was looking the part of an expatriate when he met with reporters in the Reds' clubhouse at Legends Field on Wednesday. Crosby, who spent three seasons with the Yanks, had grown his hair down to just above shoulder-length and he wore signs of a scruffy beard.
Crosby, who was signed with Cincinnati as a free agent after the 2006 season, talked about his experience in New York and said it felt weird being back in Tampa as a visitor.
"It was emotional leaving, but I understood the situation and how things worked," said Crosby, who became expendable after the Yankees picked up Bobby Abreu in a midseason trade with the Phillies. "It was tough, because I wasn't able to say goodbye to all the guys the way I wanted to. Obviously, I would have wanted the opportunity to compete for a spot this year, but I got my shot to play for the Yankees, which I'm proud of."
Crosby said he called Don Mattingly during the offseason to thank him for helping him during his three years with the club. Crosby also said he spent some time with Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon after the season ended.
"It was an amazing time, and I'll always cherish the chance to play in the playoffs and have the opportunity to go to the World Series," said Crosby, who went 0-for-2 in Wednesday's game. "It was an exciting time, and I'll appreciate being a part of it."
It's a G-thing: Giambi said he's anticipating his first appearance at first base this spring.
"I have the 'big G' ready, which is what I call my first-base glove," said Giambi. "Whatever the club needs, I'll do. Obviously, it's a lot easier when you're able to play the field and then come to bat because you're in that mind-set, physically and mentally, about being in the game.
"When you're sitting on the bench, it's tough, because you have to jump and get going every three innings or so. You have to ride the bike, take some swings in the tunnel and then go out and do your thing. And then wait around again."
Giambi understands, though, that his health is the most important value to the team.
"That's the key," said Giambi. "I've talked to Joe and I understand what they need from me. But I'm staying open-minded about playing at first."
This and that: Abreu said he thinks he might take some dry swings this weekend. He's been working out and he said his strained abdominal muscle gets better each day. ... Josh Phelps went 1-for-1 with a double in the ninth inning on Wednesday to raise his spring average to .556. ... Posada had a single in two at-bats and is now batting .571 this spring. ... Darrell Rasner tossed three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out two without issuing a walk. ... Posada, Alex Rodriguez, Hideki Matsui and Melky Cabrera will not travel with the team to play the Braves on Thursday.
Up next: The Yankees visit the Braves on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. ET in their first meeting this spring. Mike Mussina will make his second start, opposing Tim Hudson.
The game will be played under National League rules, meaning pitchers will hit if necessary. Giambi will also make his first start at first base and right-handed relievers Matt DeSalvo, Scott Proctor and Chris Britton are scheduled to pitch.
Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.