ALTOONA, Pa. (AP) — Andy Pettitte allowed two runs in five innings in what was likely to be his final minor league tuneup before returning to the New York Yankees.
Pitching for Double-A Trenton in Game 1 of the Eastern League championship series, Pettitte allowed a home run to the first batter, Chase d’Arnaud, on a 1-2 pitch, then set down the next seven hitters.
The winningest pitcher in major league postseason history allowed another run in the third inning aided by a wild pitch and a passed ball.
Pettitte threw 67 pitches – 49 strikes – allowed six hits and two walks and struck out four. It was his second rehab start with Trenton; he worked four scoreless innings Sept. 8.
After the outing, Pettitte threw 10 more pitches in the bullpen, signed autographs for 15 minutes and declared himself ready to return to the Yankees.
“Unless they tell me I’m not starting, I feel like it’s time I need to get in a big-league game and get going up there,” said Pettitte, adding he feels he would be good for about 80 pitches. “I’ll pitch Sunday (Sept. 19) in Baltimore and that will give me three starts.”
On Tuesday, he escaped a bases loaded, no-outs jam in the fifth by getting a 1-2-3 double play and then striking out cleanup hitter Matt Hague. He left with the score tied at 2.
Pettitte took a significant step toward rejoining the Yankees’ rotation, behind ace CC Sabathia. The left-hander has been on the disabled list since July 19 with a strained left groin.
The Yankees preferred to see Pettitte make a second rehab start after his 51-pitch outing on Sept. 8. On Tuesday, he was scheduled to throw five innings or 75 pitches, whichever came first. He is in line to start for New York in Baltimore, on Sept. 19.
Before his injury, Pettitte had gone 11-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 18 starts.
“It’s been terrible,” he said. “I’ve been out a lot longer than I expected, and I feel like I’m a big part of what we want to do up there. For me not to be able to take my turn every day has been the toughest thing. I’m ready to go out there and start battling with ’em.”
Pettitte’s 18 wins are the most in postseason history.
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