Although Andy Pettitte said Sunday that his fractured left fibula is mending more slowly than doctors had hoped and that his rehab program has been dialed back to promote the healing process, Sunday's 's follow-up round of X-rays looked more promising.
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That was an upgrade from before the game, when Pettitte, who has been on the disabled list since June 28, sounded more pessimistic about the pace of his recovery.
Pettitte had somewhat disappointing X-rays when the Yankees returned from the West Coast last week. "Whatever I was doing in Seattle and Oakland, I was feeling great," he said. "I just did a little too much. I got some swelling in there and it was causing me some discomfort, so when we got back here, I shut everything down for four days to get all the swelling out."
Pettitte's regimen currently is limited to the stationary bike, the hydrotherapy pool and playing catch inside the indoor batting cage. The concern is that a more advanced workout, such as long toss, would put too much stress on the ankle at this point.
"The X-rays at four weeks weren't quite as good as we were hoping they would be," Pettitte said. "I got new bone growing where the break is. But I think I had healed so quickly for the first two weeks, the [doctor] thought I might have been doing too much work for it to heal [more]. The bottom line is he told me I just needed to stay off it for a little bit."
Pettitte still expects to be ready to rejoin the rotation in September, but he was unsure when he'll be cleared to throw off a mound.
"I have no clue," he said. "I've never had a broken leg. If it was my elbow, I'd tell you. I just have no idea. It's up to the docs."
Mariano Rivera was back in uniform for Sunday's on-field photo day with fans, but he declined to speak with reporters about his rehab from right knee surgery. Brian Cashman recently said Rivera will not return this season, but Girardi -- perhaps keeping his fingers crossed -- wouldn't rule it out completely.
"Nothing's ever 100 percent," Girardi said. "But I would say it's 99.9 percent. A lot of people have said that they're done playing and they find a way back. We will die, though. I can tell you that for sure."
Girardi said Alex Rodriguez, who has been throwing a football this weekend as part of his rehab for a fractured left hand, is progressing normally. He's not expected back for another month . . . Girardi also suggested that Brett Gardner (elbow) might be used in a limited role, such as a pinch runner, when rosters expand in September.