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Andy's back, too

Andy Pettitte came one shy of his 60-pitch limit on Wednesday. Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

TAMPA, Fla. -- Given all the hubbub about Derek Jeter's return to full-time work, you may not have noticed that another member of the so-called Core Four, now down to the We Three, made his first spring training start tonight.

Andy Pettitte's spring debut was busier than Jeter's, and somewhat less auspicious, but like Jeter's it, too, served its purpose.

"It was really good to get out there," Pettitte said. "Stuff-wise, I didn’t feel great, felt like my command was nowhere near where I wanted it. But I’ve got something to work on for the next time out."

Pettitte worked two batters into the fourth inning and allowed one run on four hits in the Yankees' 6-2 victory over the Phillies at The Boss. His control was less than pinpoint -- he walked three batters, hit one but also struck out three -- and worked with runners on base in every inning. In the first, a good running catch by Melky Mesa in short center probably saved him some damage -- there were runners on first and second at the time -- and a diving stop by Kevin Youkilis bailed him out of the third, when the Phillies again had two runners on after scoring a run on Domonic Brown's RBI single.

After Pettitte walked the first two batters of the fourth inning, he was removed from the game, having come within one pitch of his 60-pitch limit. He was spared further damage by Cody Eppley, who struck out two of the three hitters he faced and got the third on a groundout.

"I was good and tired for the last inning I went out there," said Pettitte, who had thrown just a couple of simulated games and live BPs so far. "I was pretty cooked. But we wanted to get to 60 pitches, and we did that."

Because of an off-day in the schedule the next time Pettitte's turn comes arund, he will throw another simulated game, and make no more than two more starts, the final one on March 28, the last day of camp, before the start of the regular season. "I'll be ready," he said.