His line for the Trenton Thunder last night: four innings, no runs, two hits, four strikeouts, and most important, no problems with his injured left groin. (Much to the dismay of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Pettitte accomplished this during Game 2 of the teams’ playoff series.) The Yankees would like Pettitte to make one more start in the minors before returning to the big-league club — he was on a strict limit of four innings or 65 pitches, whichever came first — though the Yankees might not have a farm team in action Tuesday, when he’d next be scheduled to pitch.
Otherwise, Pettitte says he thinks he could throw four or five “decent” innings if he makes his next start in the majors, admitting, “I realize my stamina is nowhere where it needs to be.” The sooner that stamina returns, the better, though, as the Yankees schedule takes a turn for the brutal beginning tonight: Two series each against Tampa Bay and Boston, and one each against Texas, Toronto, and Baltimore. (Only the O’s are under .500 in that group, and even they’re over that mark under Buck Showalter.) The next six days, especially, could prove to be something of a playoff preview: Three games in Texas (the team they’d face in the ALDS if the season ended today), then three at Tampa Bay (the team they very well may face in the ALCS, should they advance that far). And yes, they will see Cliff Lee, who returns to the Rangers’ rotation on Sunday afternoon.