NEW YORK (AP) _ Andy Pettitte says recent X-rays on his broken
lower left leg look better than they did last month but he’s still
not sure when he might be cleared to throw off a mound.

The New York Yankees pitcher was in the clubhouse before Tuesday
night’s game against Texas and said he realizes that if he has
another setback, his season is “probably over.” Pettitte needs
time to rebuild arm strength before October if he wants to be
included in a potential postseason rotation.

“I plan on getting him back,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi

Pettitte had X-rays on Monday. The 40-year-old left-hander has
been sidelined since June 28 after he was hit by a line drive. His
ankle swelled up last month in Seattle while he was trying to
rehab, delaying his recovery.

“Whatever I did in Seattle, the thing swelled up on me and I
stopped the healing process. Right now it looks like it probably
set me back 10 days,” Pettitte said. “I wasn’t able to walk. When
we came back from Seattle, I had a hard time getting around. I was
shut down. I’ve beaten myself up enough over that.”
Girardi said Pettitte would have to be up near 100 pitches “to
feel that he’s ready to go” in a playoff game.

“I think if you were to have a two- or three-week setback,
you’d be in trouble,” Girardi said. “So we have to make sure he’s
right when he gets off the mound.”

Pettitte said he feels “really good.” He’s playing long toss
this week and riding a stationary bike, waiting for clearance from
his doctor to throw off a mound.

“That’s all I care about. I’m trying to just do what they tell
me to do and take it as easy as I possibly can until I can get on
the mound. That’ll give me an idea of when I can be ready,”
Pettitte said. “I know now that if I have another setback that
we’ve got serious problems and my season’s probably over. Now we’re
probably going to be overcautious and try to figure out what we can
do just to make sure I’m back and what I need to get ready.”

The AL East leaders also are missing ace CC Sabathia, on the
15-day disabled list with left elbow inflammation. He is expected
back this month.

A healthy Pettitte could be crucial to New York’s championship
chances. He holds major league records for postseason wins (19) and
starts (42).

After ending a one-year retirement in March, the three-time
All-Star is 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA in nine starts this 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 on the mound in four. I mean, that’s just Andy. But that’s
the competitive nature in him. So you have to watch what he does to
make sure he doesn’t do too much.”

In other injury news, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was
scheduled to have X-rays Tuesday on his broken left hand.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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