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Pettitte sharp in longest outing yet

Yankees' Andy Pettitte throws against the Mets in

Yankees' Andy Pettitte throws against the Mets in a spring training game. (April 4, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

TAMPA -- Andy Pettitte took another positive step toward a return to the Yankees on Friday, throwing 66 pitches -- 58 for strikes -- in an extended spring training game and retiring 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.

"Just trying to get the work in. Got up to 66 pitches, so it was perfect," he said after giving up five hits and two runs in five-plus innings against Pirates farmhands. "A little different environment down here, trying to get going, but I feel good. I know where I was at my last start. It's another good step."

Pettitte, 39, said he expects to pitch again Wednesday, likely with Double-A Trenton, which is at home against Erie that day.

Pettitte had been scheduled to pitch in Daytona Beach in the Florida State League on Friday night, but with inclement weather possible and a chance to avoid a 21/2-hour drive each way from Tampa, he decided he could make the same progress at the Yankees' minor-league complex.

"No hot tub," he said of the amenities he'd have missed in Daytona.

Pettitte gave up leadoff doubles in the first and third innings and allowed both runners to score but was otherwise in control. He had three strikeouts in a span of four batters late in his outing and fielded two comebackers flawlessly.

He finished with five strikeouts and went to a three-ball count on only one of the 21 batters he faced. Only one of the Pirates' outs came on a ball hit to the outfield.

Approaching his pitch count in the fifth, Pettitte got three outs on eight pitches, then got an encore of sorts, staying on the mound for a fourth and fifth out in the extended inning.

"I'm happy I feel pretty comfortable with all my pitches," he said. "My legs are getting tired when they're supposed to be getting tired. [It's] just pushing past when I get a little bit tired and then trying to continue to build on that."

Friday marked Pettitte's third and longest outing in extended spring training. He threw 47 pitches in four scoreless innings with Tampa in a Florida State League game Sunday.

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