Pettitte clears hurdle with pushoff in windup

Pettitte clears hurdle with pushoff in windup

Pettitte clears hurdle with pushoff in windup
ST. PETERSBURG -- Andy Pettitte moved one step closer to getting back into a big league game on Wednesday, but the Yankees left-hander's timetable is still uncertain.

Pettitte threw about 15 pitches to hitters during a simulated game at Tropicana Field, another positive sign as the veteran hopes to return from his fractured left ankle in time to help the Yankees in September.

"I felt like I threw the ball well," Pettitte said. "I felt like I was pushing off full. I almost tried to make it like a game, so it was a good day. For me, it's a good way to ramp it up pretty quick."

Pettitte expects to pitch again under simulated conditions this weekend in Baltimore, and with Minor League games scarce, it is likely that he will have to build his pitch count without a rehabilitation assignment.

Pettitte also has some concern about his stamina. The lefty has been limited to training on a stationary bicycle and swimming in the pool at Yankee Stadium, but he has yet to be cleared by a doctor to run.

"My calves, the muscles in my legs; I mean, it's different than riding a bicycle," Pettitte said. "I haven't done that in almost 10 weeks now, so I have to run around the field at some point and we've got to do some stuff."

Manager Joe Girardi suggested that Pettitte could pitch in a big league game after building his count to about 60 pitches or four innings, but general manager Brian Cashman said it is still too soon to establish a target date.

"We will add him when we feel he can contribute to our efforts at this level," Cashman said. "I can't give you that date yet. Obviously, today, he's not ready to do that, but today was an important day to get us closer to that date."