CHICAGO (CBSNewYork/AP) — In just his ninth start, Andy Pettitte’s much-discussed comeback season was painfully put on hold.

The Yankees hope the veteran left-hander, recovering from a broken left ankle, will be able to contribute to the team’s stretch run in September. But what about next season?

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Well, Pettitte hasn’t ruled it out.

“It seemed like things don’t work out like you envision them in life,” he said Tuesday. “I figured coming in here, I’d pitch this year and fully exhaust myself of whatever I had left in me, as far as for baseball or whatever. And as of this moment right now, I want to pitch more right now than I did when I first came to the big leagues.”

Pettitte, who has 243 career victories in 17 major League seasons and another 19 wins in the postseason, said he’ll have to “go home, and again, talk to my family about it, pray about it and really just do what I feel like is the right thing to do.”

“I definitely can’t tell you right now that there’s no way I’m gonna play,” he said about pitching in 2013.

Pettitte, working on pushing off his left leg, will throw off flat ground Wednesday.

He said he expects to return before the end of the regular season, but rehab could get tricky with minor league seasons ending soon.

“I’ve been trying to take it slow,” Pettitte said. “They’ve set up somewhat of a plan for me and we’re trying to follow that.”

Both Pettitte and Girardi acknowledged that he could end up throwing simulated games while remaining with the big league team.

“If that’s what we have to do, that’s what we have to do,” Girardi said. “By then we should have a few extra hitters here.”

Pettitte has been sidelined since late June. He is 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA after signing a minor-league contract in March. He made 21 starts for New York in 2010 and did not pitch in 2011.

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“(The goal) coming back here was to try to help us win another championship, and I still have an opportunity to do that,” said Pettitte. “The light at the end of the tunnel for me with all this is to try to get healthy, get back, get myself prepared so I can help us get to the postseason.”

The 40-year-old was supportive of former teammate Roger Clemens, who signed with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League on Monday.

“It kind of surprised me, but I guess it doesn’t with him, he’s just the ultimate competitor,” Pettitte said. “I know he loves to compete and I wish him nothing but the best.”

Asked if Clemens might be angling for another shot at the majors, Pettitte said: “If he’s trying to, if anybody can do it, he’s someone that can pull it off probably.”

Also on Tuesday, Yankees ace CC Sabathia threw 38 pitches in a bullpen session and said he expects to return to the rotation Friday against the Cleveland Indians.

“I’m pretty sure I’m pitching on Friday,” Sabathia said. “I threw all my pitches, they felt pretty good.”

“It’s just up to the way I feel, and I don’t anticipate feeling any soreness.”

Manager Joe Girardi was encouraged Tuesday but said he’s waiting to see how Sabathia feels on Wednesday before giving the OK.

“We have to see how he comes out the next two days, how he comes out tomorrow,” Girardi said. “If he comes out OK tomorrow, it’s pretty likely he’ll be our starter on Friday.”

Sabathia was placed on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 9 with left elbow inflammation. He also missed time in June and July due to a strained groin. The 32-year-old lefty is 12-3 with a 3.56 ERA in 20 starts this season.

Do you think Andy will don the pinstripes again next year? Be heard in the comments below!

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