Pettitte getting closer

On the same day the Yankees revealed that Michael Pineda's rehab was not going well, the good news is that Andy Pettitte's return to the rotation is on or close to schedule after a five-inning, 68-pitch extended spring training outing on Friday in whihc he allowed four hits, two runs, walked no one and struck out four.

"It’s getting close to a reality now,'' Joe Girardi said before today's game with the Red Sox. "I think it’s realistic to look at three more minor-league starts and then you make a real evaluation of where he’s at and what he needs.''

Meaning he could return to the Yankees if not May 1, his originally projected date, then by around May 10. Depending on how he comes out of yesterday's start, Pettitte could go again on Wednesday and throw as many as 85 pitches, with the aim of having him throw one start of between 95-100 pitches before being reactivated.

"We need to see, can he run off four starts in a row on normal rest?,'' Girardi said. "I believe he can.''

Aside from Ivan Nova and, in his most recent start, CC Sabathia, the way the Yankees starting pitching has performed so far this season makes Pettitte's return not just desirable, but essential.