"I feel like I'm ready to go up and I think they're ready for me to come up,'' Pettitte said after pitching five innings and taking the loss as Scranton/Wilkes-Barre fell to Pawtucket, 7-5, at Frontier Field. "I felt good. I felt as strong in the last inning as I did in the first inning. For me, that was another good test.''
In an email to Newsday, general manager Brian Cashman said, "Nothing discussed yet, so nothing decided yet.''
Minor-league pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras, the only Yankees front-office official in the ballpark, was smiling afterward when he talked with reporters about Pettitte. Contreras said he hadn't talked with Cashman yet.
Is Pettitte ready? "I'll let Mr. Cashman know what I saw,'' Contreras said. "That will be up to Mr. Cashman. I'm sure sooner rather than later."
Pettitte threw 92 pitches, 59 for strikes, and gave up five runs (three earned). He struck out five and walked two. He said he's at a point of diminishing returns after making six starts at various stops in the minors.
"For me, it's inevitable, I believe, to get me up there and get in the mix,'' he said. "You try to get locked in. I'm trying as hard as I can to focus, but it's difficult. You're signing baseballs. It's exciting for everybody. I'm trying to get my work in, and more than anything, I'm trying to stay healthy and physically come out of these starts feeling good."
"He's just getting in shape," Contreras said. " I think it's him trying to get in shape, getting the feel of his pitches, getting location, making sure his delivery is right so he'll be able to command.''
Pettitte's velocity reached 89 mph and he was consistently in the range of 85 to 87 mph. "It's good to get out there, good to get into trouble and work my way out of trouble,'' he said. "It's just going through what you have to go through to get ready.''
Pettitte said it will be strange to return to New York and not have Mariano Rivera in the Yankees' bullpen.
"It was devastating news, that's for sure,'' Pettitte said. "Me and Mo, we've battled a lot of years out in that outfield over shagging fly balls. It was a freak accident. I'm with Mo on that. I love to shag.
"It's therapeutic to a certain degree. You feel like you're a kid out there running around and you relieve some of the stress out there. To see that happen, I just know I would have probably been out there right next to him.''
With Erik Boland