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Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Pettitte hit in leg before starting NLCS opener

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS -- Houston pitcher Andy Pettitte was struck in the leg by a ball during batting practice before his start in Game 1 of the NL championship series.

Andy Pettitte
Andy Pettitte

The Astros said Pettitte would be able to make his start against the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener of the best-of-seven series.

Pettitte was making a leisurely loop around the bases -- a typical routine during batting practice -- when a sharply hit ball struck him, apparently on the inside of the right leg.

Pettitte kept on running, finished out batting practice and ducked into the dugout without commenting, but Astros manager Phil Garner said the left-hander would be able to pitch without any problem.

"He's fine," Garner said.

Astros general manager Tim Purpura was updated on Pettitte's condition as well.

"I think it got him on the inside of his leg," Purpura said. "I guess if we didn't have challenges, we wouldn't have jobs."

Pettitte, who wasn't able to pitch in last year's NLCS against the Cardinals after undergoing elbow surgery, went 17-9 this season with a 2.39 ERA -- second in the league to teammate Roger Clemens.

Pettitte won his only start in the opening round against Atlanta to give him 14 postseason wins. He went into Wednesday's game only one victory behind John Smoltz of the Braves, the winningest postseason pitcher in baseball history.