New York Yankees: Andy Pettitte Strong Again in Rehab, Targeting Sept. 24 Return

Doug RushSenior Analyst ISeptember 9, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 27: Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees looks on during the game against the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium on June 27, 2012  in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles have been engaged in a playoff-like series this weekend at Camden Yards with both teams battling back and forth in the series.

While that has been going on, Andy Pettitte has continued to get himself ready with his rehab work on his fractured fibula and continues the good news with his progress.

On Saturday, Pettitte threw another simulated game at Camden Yards, throwing 46 pitches in three simulated innings and looking sharp, according to Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York.

Because the Yankees Triple-A and Double-A teams are currently in playoff series, Pettitte can't pitch for them in rehab starts, so any start Pettitte will make to shake off the rust will be in simulated starts.

On Monday, Pettitte will be evaluated by the team doctors and if he is cleared to run, his rehab could get sped up, which might mean his return date might get moved up even quicker.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post talked to Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild and he was really impressed with how Pettitte's simulated game went.


Pettitte threw 46 pitches in 3 IP sim game and Rothchild declared it, "good, very good, super." #Yankees

— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 8, 2012


According to Marchand, Pettitte is expected to throw another simulated game when the team is at Fenway Park for their series against the Boston Red Sox and could throw anywhere between Tuesday and Thursday.

That simulated game should be right around 60 pitches for the 40-year-old.

Pettitte has a target date of around September 24, although he would love to come back sooner, but is not making any stupid decisions in rushing his progress.

"I don't want to be stupid, but I didn't think I was going to come back and be as sharp as I am," Pettitte said. "I thought it would take a lot of bullpens and some game work obviously. But since my command has been so good, I think everybody's been comfortable just running me back out there with these simulated games as quick as we can."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi would not rule out attempting to bring Pettitte back the week of September 17, but if the September 24 date is more logical, than that will likely be the plan.

Pettitte was 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA in nine starts with 59 strikeouts in 58.2 innings before taking a line drive off his ankle on June 27; that has sidelined him for over two months now.

With the Yankees and Orioles in a heated pennant race that will likely go down to the wire, having Pettitte back in the rotation will be a major spark to the team who can use a veteran presence in the clubhouse and dugout like Pettitte's.

More great news for the Yankees and for Pettitte, who continues his battle to get back on the field for the Yankees at a time where they desperately need him.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.