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Pettitte struggles in first Triple-A start of comeback to Yankees

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Andy Pettitte hardly looked ready for the majors in the first Triple-A start of his comeback.

Pettitte pitched five shaky innings Sunday and took the loss as the New York Yankees' top affiliate lost to Pawtucket 7-5.

The 39-year-old lefty allowed five runs, three of them earned, and eight hits in his latest minor league outing. He walked two, including one batter with the bases loaded, and struck out five.

"The feel for my offspeed stuff just wasn't there. I'm disappointed I'm not as sharp as I wanted to be," Pettitte said.

Pettitte retired after the 2010 season and sat out last year. He's hoping to soon rejoin the Yankees' rotation.

"It's inevitable for me to get up there and get in the mix," Pettitte said. "I'm trying to get locked in and go as far as I can to get focused."

Nardi Contreras, the Yankees' pitching coordinator, wouldn't say what his recommendation will be for Pettitte.

"I'll let [Yankees general manager] Mr. [Brian] Cashman know what I saw. It'll be up to [him]," Contreras said.

Asked when he thinks Pettitte will be promoted, Contreras smiled and said, "I'm sure sooner rather than later."

Pettitte threw 59 of 92 pitches for strikes.

"My bullpen work has been almost perfect. Every outing, every side [session], I've felt really good. I'm hoping when I do get an opportunity that I can get everything going the way I hope to," he said.

Pettitte has pitched four times in the minors this year. He has a 3.71 ERA in 17 innings and is expected to improve a struggling Yankees rotation.

Overall, New York starters had a 5.55 ERA and an 11-12 record; those figures deteriorate to an 6.07 ERA and a 7-12 record when excluding staff ace CC Sabathia.

Playing a game, regardless of the location, was likely a welcomed occurrence for Pettitte, who testified at the perjury trial of former Yankee teammate Roger Clemens on Wednesday. Pettitte would not discuss details on that testimony, but said he was glad it was over.

With the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre stadium undergoing a total reconstruction, the minor league Yankees are playing their entire home schedule in various ballparks, with a majority of the games being held in Rochester, the home of Minnesota's Triple-A affiliate.

Pettitte's start was originally scheduled to be played in nearby Batavia, but was moved on three days' notice due to the parent Yankees' concerns about the lower standards of the Single-A facility and the ability to attract a large number of fans.

The Rochester organization announced the attendance of 13,584 was the largest ever in their ballpark for a regular-season baseball game.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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