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Pettitte thinks he'll be back sooner than expected

Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees

Andy Pettitte #46 of the New York Yankees looks on prior to leaving the game in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays as teammate Jorge Posada #20 calls for the trainer. (July 18, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Andy Pettitte already is starting to get antsy. And it hasn't even been a week.

The 38-year-old lefthander, who suffered a left groin strain last Sunday and was placed on the disabled list two days later, said he doesn't think his recovery will take as long as the predicted four to five weeks.

"I'm not having any problems at all," said Pettitte, who will fly to Tampa Monday morning to begin his rehab. "Not feeling it walking around, day-to-day stuff. I haven't done much, but . . . I feel good."

Pettitte, who was replaced in the rotation by Sergio Mitre yesterday, played catch for five minutes before the game, throwing about 40 times from 60 feet. "It doesn't seem realistic at all to me right now," he said of the recovery timeline, "but I haven't got on a mound and strided it out."

Manager Joe Girardi said he had to caution Pettitte to be patient when the pitcher told him how great he was feeling as they sat in the dugout during Friday night's game.

"I said, 'Look, you're not exerting yourself. If you go out and try to do too much and you feel it again, then we're right back to where we were,'' Girardi said. " . . . And that's hard because he really wants to get out there. He's probably going to, time to time, drive us all a little nuts. But that's OK because you want your players like that. You want them to want to get back out there. You just have to hold him back a little bit."

Pettitte will rejoin the team for a three-game set with the Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., starting Friday.

Gardner has endoscopy

Brett Gardner went to the hospital for an endoscopy for an acid reflux condition Saturday morning after eating a pork chop prepared by the clubhouse kitchen staff Friday. The outfielder, who has had the condition since he was a teenager, did not play against the Royals but did watch from the dugout. After the game, Gardner said he hadn't eaten any solid food since 5 p.m. Friday. He is expected to play today, Girardi said.

Extra bases

Nick Swisher (sore left Achilles) pinch hit for Marcus Thames with two outs in the eighth and played rightfield in the ninth. Swisher, who was robbed of a potential extra-base hit by centerfielder Rick Ankiel's diving catch, is expected to play Sunday . . . Jonathan Albaladejo, who pitched a perfect ninth inning Friday, was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre . . . Dustin Moseley pitched 42/3 scoreless innings, allowing only two baserunners. It was the longest relief appearance by a Yankee this year.

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