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Andy Pettitte set to throw batting practice

03/21/2012 12:56 PM ET
By Jon Lane / YESNetwork.com

After a 16-month retirement, Andy Pettitte decided it was
time to return to work. (AP)

Andy Pettitte is about to take another big step in his second baseball career. The left-hander who last Friday came out of retirement is scheduled to pitch batting practice on Friday.

Pettitte first arrived to camp on Tuesday and felt good after throwing 50 pitches in the bullpen before manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild.

“Larry’s happy with where he’s at with his bullpen,” Girardi told reporters on Wednesday. “A lot of guys throw two or three bullpens (before they face hitters). Andy threw one for us 10 days ago and he threw another one in between at home.”

Pettitte was so encouraged after Tuesday’s work he joked he’d be ready to pitch in a Major League game in three weeks. That said, Pettitte will remain on a full six-to-seven-week Spring Training timetable and could appear in an exhibition game before the Yankees break camp.

“We just have to watch his legs, the most important part,” Girardi said. “He’s thrown probably eight or nine bullpens, probably more than a lot of guys had thrown when they got here. Spring Training is usually six and a half weeks, so we’ll just have to wait and see. As of right now I don’t think (that timetable is unrealistic), but we might change our mind as we see things progress.”

Pettitte went 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 2010, his final season before retiring, while overcoming a strained left groin that disabled him for two months and back pain that nearly prevented him from pitching in the postseason.  He said on Tuesday the 16-month layoff has helped and whatever the end result, he promises no regrets. In fact, the only regret would have been if he didn’t give himself the chance to see how much he truly has left.

"It's a great opportunity. It's a great challenge," Pettitte said. "No matter what happens, I prayed about the decision with my family and my kids for a long time and we feel it's the right thing to do."

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC

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