Clock ticking on Pettitte's return

Andy Pettitte hopes to throw off of a mound for the first time later this week in his attempt to come back from a broken left fibula.

But will that give him enough time to return to the big leagues this season?

The Yankees hope so. But no one around the team seems to be too sure about it.

Pettitte threw on Tuesday off of flat ground and reported no pain on Wednesday morning. Joe Girardi said he hopes Pettitte can throw off of a mound at some point later in the week.

"We'll just have to see," the manager said. "Whenever he does get on the mound (the process of getting him back to the field) is going to have to be accelerated a little bit just because of the timing."

Pettitte said he'd like to get at least two starts in September with the Yankees in order to get ready for the postseason, assuming the Yankees make it to October.

Girardi suggested some of Pettitte's rehab work may be in the form of simulated starts. He also suggested that Pettitte could start a September game and throw just 65-70 pitches because the Yankees, thanks to expanded September rosters, would have enough relief pitchers to spell Pettitte.

"You may have to be somewhat creative, and we'll do that," Girardi said.

Pettitte has been out since June 27.

He had a setback in his initial rehab attempt, which is why the Yankees are going to be cautious with him.

Pettitte said that his arm feels great but expressed concern that his legs aren't conditioned well enough to push off of a mound consistently.

"I think we've got to be careful with how much I'm doing, just because (team doctors are) telling me I need to watch the load," Pettitte said.

HOPING TO GET ANDRUW GOING: Girardi said he put Andruw Jones in the cleanup spot on Wednesday against Toronto lefty J.A. Happ with the hope of getting the veteran out of his recent slide. Jones had just one hit in his past 13 at-bats. ... Girardi also confirmed that David Phelps will start on Sunday.