Andy Pettitte says he's feeling better, but it's going slowly
CHICAGO -- Progress has been slow for Andy Pettitte, far slower than the antsy lefthander would like.
Still, the 40-year-old Pettitte said Tuesday that the past week is the most encouraged he's been since suffering a fractured left fibula June 27 and certainly since having a setback toward the end of July.
"I started feeling really, really, really good probably five or six days ago," Pettitte said.
And so far, that feeling hasn't dissipated.
"We're trying to keep it really, really good and not going the other way," he said.
Pettitte, 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA when he got hurt, drew encouragement from Monday and Tuesday when he threw flat-ground sessions in the outfield. He'll put on spikes for the first time when he throws Wednesday.
"With my [regular] shoes on, when I start lifting my leg up and trying to push. it's a little scary because you could slip or something like that," Pettitte said. "So I'll try to lift my leg up and push a little bit harder tomorrow. Obviously, the big key is being on flat ground and being able to push 100 percent and coming back the next day and not having any discomfort."
Pettitte, who expects to get back on a mound by the weekend, got to around this point July 23-25 in Seattle when he did too much and suffered a setback that delayed his return by at least 10 days.
"I've been feeling really good for the last five or six days but I was feeling really good in Seattle," Pettitte said. "I've been trying to take it slowly."
The pitcher, who said based on conversations with doctors, he thinks "I'm pretty much healed," will have limited options once he's ready for a full-blown rehab assignment as most of the minor-league seasons are done in early September.
Which doesn't concern Pettitte or manager Joe Girardi.
"I'm not trying to take the importance away from that but I feel like I know what I need to do to get ready," Pettitte said. "Whatever we have to do, whether it's throwing to our guys . . . that will be sufficient enough for me."
Said Girardi: "If that's what we have to do, that's what we'll do."
Pettitte, however, indicated he wouldn't be comfortable taking the mound in a playoff game without having pitched in a regular-season game or two in September.
"I don't want to think about that, I think that would be tough," he said. "But unless I hurt myself again, I'll have a chance to pitch again in this regular season for sure."
Pettitte said he can "see the light at the end of the tunnel" of his rehab and with the season winding down, the inevitable question about 2013 was asked.
"I hadn't ," he said. "I'll figure that out as soon as the season's over. I'm too focused right now on figuring out how to get healthy for this season and get through this season and help this club. I wouldn't [rule it out]. I'll go home and talk to my family and pray about it and I'll do what I feel like's the right thing to do. I definitely can't tell you right now that there's no way I'm [not] going to play.
"I figured coming in, I'd pitch this year and I would fully exhaust myself of whatever I have left in me as far as baseball or whatever. As of this moment now, I want to pitch more now than when I first came into the big leagues."