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Andy Pettitte could pitch in 2013

Andy Pettitte watches from the dugout as the

Andy Pettitte watches from the dugout as the Yankees play the Baltimore Orioles in a game at Yankee Stadium. (Sept. 1, 2012) Credit: AP

The bad news for the Yankees about Andy Pettitte's fractured left fibula is that they didn't have him for so long. The good news is that they might have him next year.

Pettitte, who will return to the mound Tuesday night to face the Blue Jays in his first start since June 27, said Sunday that missing so much time could entice him to return in 2013.

"I could probably say that when I came back, I thought there was no chance that I was coming back [next season],'' Pettitte said. "This was a one-year deal. But getting hurt and only having [58 2/3] innings right now and you were hoping to have a couple hundred innings under your belt, it definitely gives me the option to consider coming back again next year, that's for sure.''

Pettitte, injured by a one-hopper off the bat of Cleveland's Casey Kotchman, has been rehabbing since, even throwing from his knees to retain arm strength in the early days.

Without benefit of any minor-league rehab starts, Pettitte will go to the mound Tuesday with a maximum pitch count of about 75. Manager Joe Girardi said he'd be happy with five good innings.

"It feels like it's coming out good," Pettitte said. "We're going to find out Tuesday night."

Pettitte, 40, is 3-3 with a 3.22 ERA. The Yankees got a boost from the return of Ivan Nova on Saturday and are hoping for the same from Pettitte.

"You want to be in the mix and in this rotation and hopefully . . . throw quality starts and give this team a chance to win,'' Pettitte said. "That's what I came back for, and to have to sit here and watch it for the last two months has been difficult, because I came back because I wanted to compete and I haven't been able to do that . . . Like I said when I got hurt, I've been trying to have my pompons on and cheer these guys on.''

Now he will be able to do more than that.

"I am ready," he said. "I'm looking forward to it, obviously. I don't know what else to say. I'm excited about getting back out there and pitching, for sure."


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