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Andy Pettitte feels strong after throwing bullpen, set to start Friday

04/16/2013 7:50 PM ET
By Joe Auriemma

Andy Pettitte said he felt strong after throwing a bullpen Tuesday. The lefty is scheduled to start for the Yankees on Friday.(AP)
Andy Pettitte pitched a bullpen before Tuesday's game against the Diamondbacks to gauge how his back would feel. All signs are now pointing to Pettitte pitching Friday night after feeling strong before his session and then having a really good bullpen.

Last week, in his April 9 start against Cleveland, Pettitte felt some discomfort in his back in the third inning, but fought through to go seven strong in the 14-1 victory. On thursday night before his scheduled start on Friday, his back locked up getting off his couch. The estimated time to return was Tuesday night or Wednesday night and now that has been pushed back to Friday.

After throwing 35 to 40 pitches, Pettitte noted how good he felt afterward to the media before the game.

"I feel good," Pettitte said. "It was a good decision, so I don't want to second guess anybody. We'll go Friday and it's not that big of an issue."

Pettitte's only concern is now the rust factor going into his next start. It will officially be 10 days from start-to-start and the return of one's control is always a concern, especially when Pettitte was absolutely light's out in his first two starts.

"You can tell I haven't pitched,I feel strong," Pettitte said after his bullpen. "Back to square one where when I get out there Friday it's going to trying to control yourself when you throw a little bit strong. No problems today. Obviously they want to see how I feel after this and I'll be real excited to come in tomorrow and feel really, really good and have no tightness or anything like that creep up there after I worked it as hard as I did today, so we'll see what happens."

Other notes

Because of the Yankees off-day on Jackie Robinson Day (April 15), the team has decided to still celebrate the life of Robinson and have everyone wear the traditional number 42 retired jersey.

Chien-Ming Wang will pitch for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Friday night. The former two-time 19-game winner for the Yankees, last pitched for the Yankees in 2009 and could be on schedule to pitch in the Bronx sooner rather than later now.

Before the game and in between the third and fourth inning here at the Stadium, the Yankees will honor the Boston Marathon tragedy with a moment of silence and by playing Fenway Park's classic, Sweet Caroline.

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