Pettitte makes first start of the spring

March 9, 2009 6:00:49 PM PDT
Andy Pettitte felt so good that the New York Yankees let him pitch longer than his scheduled one-inning stint in his first spring training start. Pettitte allowed one hit over 1 2-3 scoreless innings of the Yankees' 6-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.

"It was weird, the first time," said Pettitte, who struck out two and walked one. "It's good to get out there, get it cranked up a little bit."

Pettitte was happy that his pitching shoulder, which gave him problems during the second half last season, was not an issue.

"I probably needed to go on the DL and I didn't," he said. "There was nothing serious wrong, but I kept trying to pitch with it and it got weaker, weaker and weaker."

Pettitte is part of a rotation that added free agents CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett. Chien-Ming Wang is back from a foot injury that sidelined him for the final 3½ months last season.

"We might have an opportunity to do something special here," Pettitte said. "It's going to be fun. Hopefully we can all stay healthy. I just hope I can help them."

The 36-year-old lefty, who re-signed with the Yankees this offseason for one year and $5.5 million, made his 2009 debut on the same day New York slugger Alex Rodriguez underwent arthroscopic surgery in Colorado to repair torn cartilage in his right hip.

Doctors said they found nothing that would keep him from returning to the lineup in May.

Russ Adams and Travis Snider hit solo homers for Toronto. Rookie left-hander Brad Mills, bidding for a rotation spot, gave up two runs and four hits in 3 2-3 innings.

Snider hit a mammoth homer to right off Ian Kennedy during a three-run sixth that gave Toronto a 5-2 advantage. Kennedy allowed five runs and five hits in 2 2-3 innings.

Brett Gardner, competing for the Yankees' starting center field spot with Melky Cabrera, hit his third homer of the spring - a two-run shot - in the third. He didn't homer in 127 at-bats with the Yankees last season, and has gone deep just nine times in 1,456 career minor league at-bats.

"Might be the last one hit all year," Gardner joked.

Aaron Hill continues to impress Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston with his performance hitting second in the lineup. He went 1-for-3 with a double, and is batting .333 in seven games.

"I think that's a good spot for him," Gaston said. "He's done well. He can hit the ball the other way. I think he's my guy."

Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay, coming off triple hernia surgery on New Year's Eve, raised his average to .111 by hitting a double in three at-bats.

"He needs to get his timing down. That's all," Gaston said. "We still have a month to go."

Notes: Wang had his bullpen session pushed back one day due to a bad cold. He remains scheduled to make his next start Friday against Boston. ... New York RHP Jason Johnson, coming back from treatment for a small cancerous tumor behind his right eye, could pitch for the first time on Friday. He threw BP before the game. ... Yankees RHP Edwar Ramirez (right shoulder bursitis) had a bullpen session and said be will pitch Saturday. ... New York optioned RHP Andrew Brackman, taken in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft, to Class-A Charleston. He is coming off elbow ligament replacement surgery. The Yankees also reassigned RHPs J.B. Cox, George Kontos, Kanekoa Texeira and Eric Hacker, and LHP Wilkin De La Rosa to their minor league camp.