31° Good Afternoon
31° Good Afternoon

Andy Pettitte learning it won't be easy

Andy Pettitte, who came out of retirement on

Andy Pettitte, who came out of retirement on a minor league contract to pitch for his former team, throws in the bullpen after arriving at the Yankees spring training facility. (March 20, 2012) Credit: AP

Andy Pettitte’s body gave him another reminder that coming back as a 39-year-old isn’t going to be easy.

“I’m good and tired,” a sweat-drenched and gassed Pettitte said Saturday morning, breathing heavily after a 33-pitch simulated game of two innings. “I felt really good in the first inning, I felt really strong. Felt really strong in my warmups, and then in the second inning, I got good and fatigued.”

Pettitte said the fatigue is mostly in his lower half, something he targeted as his biggest concern in a comeback that began a little more than two weeks ago. He’s in shape — just not the shape required of a major league pitcher.

Especially his legs. “I’m not doing my normal leg work yet,’’ he said. “Right now I definitely can tell that I wouldn’t have had very many more pitches in me. But it was good.”

Before heading here on the team bus, Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild watched Pettitte pitch against minor-leaguers Dante Bichette Jr. and Ben Gamel.

Girardi said the lefthander “looked good” but seemed to rule out having him pitch in Wednesday’s exhibition finale against the Mets, which had been floated as a possibility two weeks ago. “We’ve never thought we need to speed Andy up, and we won’t, because you know that you’ll hurt him,” Girardi said.

Of appearing in a game before camp ends, Pettitte said, “It’s really not that big of a deal.” He said he will throw his next bullpen session Monday or Tuesday.

Pettitte said two weeks ago he’d have to be forced to “take things slow.” That doesn’t sound like an issue now. “Last thing I want to do is to try and rush something,” he said.

What’s important is getting in shape and staying healthy. “So far, knock on wood,” he said, “everything’s feeling good.”

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