Yankees will slow down Andy Pettitte's schedule after slight setback

Andy Pettitte pitches to the Cleveland Indians. (June Andy Pettitte pitches to the Cleveland Indians. (June 27, 2012) Photo Credit: David Pokress

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Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild confirmed that Andy Pettitte suffered a slight setback during his rehab, but he said it's not bad enough to change the timetable for the 40-year-old lefthander's return.

General manager Brian Cashman agreed. "Ebb and flow to rehab," Cashman said Sunday night in a text message. "We will get him back in September."

"It's still feasible," Rothschild said of having Pettitte back within the six to eight weeks originally anticipated by the club. "Unless there's other setbacks, but I don't anticipate that."

When Pettitte suffered a fractured left fibula June 27 against Cleveland, the hope was that he would be back by Sept. 1.

Speaking before Sunday night's game, Rothschild said Pettitte, who had made steady progress, will be dialed back a bit.

Pettitte had thrown several flat-ground sessions -- most recently in Seattle early last week -- and two weeks ago declared his ankle "50 percent" healed. The healing process, however, has slowed a bit. "There's been some twinges that we're going to watch," Rothschild said.

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Still, he said "I don't think it's going to impact" the first-week- of-September return the team projected when Pettitte went down. "By the time we get to the end,'' Rothschild said, "hopefully it won't impact any of it."

Swisher back . . . at DH

Nick Swisher (hip flexor strain) made his first start since July 20 in Oakland, though it was at DH. Ichiro Suzuki again started in rightfield.

"I'm not a big fan of missing games," Swisher said, but he added that Joe Girardi's decision to play it cautious was the right way to go.

"I appreciate the fact these guys are looking out for me, they want me for the long run," Swisher said. "In the long run, Skip's right. I felt after every day [off] he's given me, I've felt that much better. Today I feel great."

Girardi said Swisher likely will return to rightfield Monday night, meaning Ichiro likely will make his debut in leftfield.

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Keeping quiet Joba Chamberlain's rehab process, which continued Sunday night in Trenton, has gone off without a hitch. But the Yankees have been careful not to raise expectations, rarely giving the reliever's next step until just a few days before it occurs. "Joba hasn't pitched in over a year, so we have to make sure he's prepared," Girardi said. "And that way, if we do want to change the schedule or we feel he's ahead or behind, we're not always answering questions about red flags. It gives us some leeway."

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