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Monday, March 26, 2012
Notes: Pettitte takes next step Tuesday


Andy Pettitte will throw his second live batting practice session of the spring on Tuesday, as he continues his comeback after 18 months away from the game.

It's possible he will pitch in a spring training game before the Yankees break camp next week, and the approximate target date for his return to the majors is May 1, but pitching coach Larry Rothschild said Monday that he prefers not to set hard and fast goals with Pettitte.

"We’re taking it day by day with that, and seeing how he feels the next day and then deciding where we want to go with things," Rothschild said. "It’s a very different situation."

That being said, Rothschild has really enjoyed working with Pettitte so far. This is his first opportunity to do so, since he was hired following the 2010 season.

"Very impressive. Very professional," Rothschild said of Pettitte. "The stuff is there. You can see it clearly, he’s commanded everything really well.

"I don’t think I need to tell you, but he knows what he’s doing, and he knows how to do it, and he hasn’t lost that. A really good feel for his delivery, and the arm speed’s been good. There’s a lot of things that are really good to see with him."

The Yankees are having a hard time deciding on their five-man starting rotation for Opening Day, with six strong candidates at the moment. When Pettitte returns, things will get even more interesting.

BUSY AFTERNOON: Since Francisco Cervelli came over to the minor league complex to catch Phil Hughes on Monday, he also got four at-bats against the Phillies' Single-A squad. And in the bottom of the third inning, he smacked a home run off the right-field foul pole.

Cervelli also had a great day behind the plate, throwing out three players attempting to steal second base.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Yankees will be back in action on Tuesday evening, playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field at 7:05. CC Sabathia will be on the mound -- one of the two Yankees starters who doesn't need to worry about their spots in the starting rotation, along with Hiroki Kuroda.

Nick Swisher is expected to make his return to the lineup -- he's been out for a week, after tweaking his groin against the Pirates last Monday. For Derek Jeter, it will be his third game back after missing several days with a calf injury.