It feels like Andy Pettitte has been out of commission about as long as Michael Pineda, but he'll soon be back.
According to a report from Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Pettitte was able to throw 55 pitches on flat ground in Chicago at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday. Out since June with a broken left fibula, the New York Yankees' 40-year-old lefty is getting closer to throwing pitches from the mound.
After that, the next step may be a simulated game or two before Pettitte is ready for game action. A return sometime in September has been the prognosis for him all along, and it's looking right now like he will indeed be able to make it back sometime in the next few weeks.
But here's a hypothetical: What if Pettitte isn't able to make it back in September? What if he hits a snag in his recovery and is shut down for the rest of the season?
This is certainly possible given Pettitte's advanced age, and it's a scenario that the Yankees had better be prepared for.
It's obviously not a scenario they want to see come to fruition, as Pettitte stands out as the best option to be the Yankees' No. 3 starter in the postseason once they get there. He had a 3.22 ERA and was holding opponents to a .226 batting average when he was healthy.
If Pettitte is taken out of the mix for the No. 3 spot in the Yankees' postseason rotation, they'll have to consider their backup options.
Here's a look at five alternate plans they could consider.
Note: All stats come from Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.