TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The New York Yankees’ hopes of repeating as World Series champions could have a lot to do with the outcome of a minor league playoff game.

Left-hander Andy Pettitte is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start Thursday night for the Double-A Trenton Thunder as he makes his way back from a groin injury in July.

The 38-year-old Pettitte was off to one of his best starts with an 11-2 record and a 2.88 ERA in 18 starts.

Pettitte will pitch in New Jersey against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in Game 2 of the Eastern League playoffs.

A healthy Pettitte is crucial to the Yanks’ chances, in light of the continued ineffectiveness of starters A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez, and the recent inconsistency of Phil Hughes.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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