Just three days after arriving at spring training, Andy Pettitte will throw a live batting practice session on Friday morning in Tampa.
"With a hitter standing in there, it’s definitely different," Pettitte said Thursday afternoon. "When you get a big-league hitter in there, it’s gonna make a difference with the adrenaline and everything. Because whether it’s batting practice or not, you don’t want guys just waffling everything you throw in there. So it’ll be good, I’m definitely looking forward to it."
After deciding to come out of retirement, Pettitte showed up at camp on Tuesday, took a physical in the morning, and threw an impressive bullpen session after that, prompting pitching coach Larry Rothschild to immediately move him up to live BP.
"This is kinda me and Larry now, just sitting down and trying to figure out where we’re at," Pettitte said. "And he kinda drew up a little something for me, and it had me doing that. And I’m like, 'Whatever you think buddy.'
"To tell you the truth, I didn’t think that that’s where they would probably have me at, because I just know how conservative they usually are. But I definitely feel good about doing it."
On Wednesday, Pettitte went through some drills, and admitted being in some pain afterward. "I just got regular general soreness in my lower half that you would have after the first time I got ground balls hit back to me, and comebackers and covered first and stuff like that yesterday. And I’ll continue to try to do that on a daily basis as long as my legs feel good, because I need that, and that’s what the guys have done for the first couple of weeks before I got down here."
Pettitte is still targeting May 1 as the approximate date of his major-league return. But there is a chance we'll see the 39-year-old lefty in a game before the end of spring training -- the Yankees' final exhibition game is on Wednesday, April 3.
"I feel like that might be realistic," said Pettitte, "especially if they’re having me throw batting practice right now."
"We still have another couple weeks before we get there," said Girardi, "so I think that’s realistic."