After pushing himself too hard, too soon after fracturing his left fibula on June 27, Andy Pettitte finally appears ready to take the next step. The 40-year-old left-hander experienced some swelling on a West Coast trip in late July while trying to work his leg back into shape, which he estimated set him back about 10 days.
“I was doing great,” Pettitte said on Tuesday. “I don’t know exactly what I did, but whatever I did in Seattle, the thing swelled up on me and I basically stopped the healing process.”
The Yankees shut Pettitte down for a bit after the setback, but an X-ray on Monday showed that Pettitte is getting closer to a return. Up to this point, he’s mostly done light tossing to go along with rehab work in the pool and on the bike.
Beginning this week, the doctors have given him permission to start long tossing and stretching out his arm.
“Obviously, my question is, just tell me when I can get on the mound,” Pettitte said. “As soon as I can do that, I can have some sort of idea of when I can be ready.”
Pettitte repeatedly told reporters on Tuesday that, “I’m feeling really good.” He hopes to try running sometime soon before ultimately getting the chance to throw from a mound. With only six weeks left in the regular season, he knows that time is not on his side.
“If I can get on a mound on September 1, that would be a pretty quick rush job… but I would think that would give me two and a half weeks or so to get ready,” Pettitte said.
While manager Joe Girardi said that he fully expects Pettitte to help this team before the season is over, he also stressed that the Yankees need to take a cautious approach after Pettitte’s setback in Seattle. Another misstep in the rehab process could end Pettitte’s season.
“You have to watch Andy every step of the way,” Girardi said. “He thought it was going to heal in two weeks, and he was going to be back in four. But that’s just Andy. That’s the competitive nature in him, so you have to watch what he does to make sure he doesn’t do too much.”
After briefly retiring and not pitching in 2011, there is some concern as to how ready Pettitte will be when he does eventually get back on the field. He’s only thrown 58 2/3 innings this season, but hopes he can pick up where he left off right away. He was sharp in his nine starts, pitching to a 3.22 ERA.
“From the first bullpen that I threw (this year), I felt like my command was good,” he said. “I’m hoping when I’m able to get back on there, it’ll be similar to that.”
Associated press photo