BOSTON (CBSNewYork/AP) — Andy Pettitte wants to help the Yankees right now, but he’ll have to wait a few days to do so.
The five-time World Series champion will start for the Yankees when the Bombers take on the Blue Jays on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
Sidelined since his left ankle was broken by a line drive on June 27 against Cleveland, the 40-year-old left-hander threw another simulated game on Wednesday at Fenway Park.
Following the simulated game, Pettitte said he felt great and could give the team “60, 65 pitches.”
“I’m ready,” he said. “Can I give you 100 pitches? No, but I feel like my stuff has been crisp. If they want me to do this, then I want to get back in there. I’m comfortable with doing that.”
Yankees teammate Ivan Nova is all set to return. Nova, out since Aug. 21 with inflammation in his right rotator cuff, will start Saturday at home against Tampa Bay, bumping Freddy Garcia to the bullpen.
Standing in the middle of the Yankees’ clubhouse Wednesday about three hours before their game against Boston, Pettitte voiced his desire to start as New York fights for a playoff spot in the tight AL East race.
“I did everything I needed to do,” he said. “It’s another step. They felt like my stuff was great and I feel great. My leg’s feeling great.”
While he’s been sidelined, Pettitte has watched his team’s 10-game lead in the division vanish. New York sits a half-game behind Baltimore for first place heading into its series finale against the Red Sox on Thursday.
“You know we had a big lead and the lead’s gone,” he said. “You want to embrace it. You don’t want to be scared of the situation. It’s exciting. Do you want to fail? No. But you can’t be scared of failure, that’s for sure.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the only way Pettitte would be back with the team would be as a starter, knocking down any thought of him making relief appearances.
“He means a lot to this club,” Girardi said. “We’ve seen that. We saw that a lot the first time. We went on quite a roll.”
Pettitte had a setback in July during his rehabilitation.
After ending a one-year retirement in March, he is 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA in nine starts this season. The three-time All-Star is baseball’s career leader in postseason wins (19) and starts (42).
How much of a boost do you predict Pettitte will give the Yanks down the stretch? Let us know in the comments section below…
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