Andy Pettitte past back spasms, set to start Friday

Andy Pettitte looks on from the bench during Andy Pettitte looks on from the bench during a game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (April 14, 2013) Photo Credit: Mike Stobe

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Andy Pettitte is over the muscle spasms that caused him to miss his last start and still is on track to return to the Yankees' rotation Friday against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

So says the man with the best view of Pettitte's recovery: general manager Brian Cashman.

"I live in the trainer's room, so I've been down on the table next to Andy a lot," said Cashman, still wearing a boot on his right leg and walking with crutches after suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle during a skydiving accident in early March.

"I know he feels great. He just had a muscle spasm, and that's all it was. They did an MRI on it a few days ago to be certain and it's not an issue; there's nothing going on there other than the spasm, and that's already gone. So now it's about getting in the bullpen and getting ready for his next start."

Cashman, speaking at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn during a Curtis Granderson charity event, said if Pettitte were a position player, he'd be in the lineup Tuesday night. But the preparation that goes into being a starting pitcher precludes him from returning so soon.

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After two starts, Pettitte is 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA in 15 innings.

Even without the injured Derek Jeter (ankle), Granderson (forearm) and Mark Teixeira (wrist), Cashman's Yankees enter the series opener against the Diamondbacks 6-5, in second place in the AL East and on a 5-1 run.

"We just don't want to turn the heat up on ourselves," Cashman said. "When you're playing in the big market with massive, passionate fans and a lot of attention, you want to generate positive attention and not negative attention.

"There's an avalanche of negativity that can follow poor performance. And if you can keep that stuff at bay, the more enjoyable your sleeps are."

Is Cashman getting any extra kick from the success of the mostly spare-part lineup he assembled from organizational depth and other teams' spring training castoffs?

"They're all Yankees," he said. "I [couldn't] care less if we don't hit or we don't pitch, but we're winning. Collectively, we've just got to find a way to scratch out as many wins as we possibly can."

Jeter back to work. After not working on the field Saturday or Sunday, which were scheduled treatment days, Jeter took 21 grounders Monday at the team's minor-league complex in Tampa. In workouts last Wednesday and Friday, he took more than 40 grounders each day. Jeter also did straight-line running in the outfield, in contrast to the arc running from first to third he did last week. He also took five rounds of batting practice.

With Erik Boland

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