Andy Pettitte thinks he’s ready to rejoin the Yankees rotation

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After throwing 55 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday, Andy Pettitte, who has missed 2 1/2 months with a fractured ankle, said he’s ready to start for the Yankees next week.

“I did everything I needed to do. I felt good. It’s another step,” he said. “They felt like my stuff was great. I just don’t know what the next step is, hopefully I’ll get back in the rotation. That’s what I want to do.”

If it were June instead of September, the next step would be two or three minor league rehab starts. That’s not a possibility now, though. Odds are that he’ll rejoin the rotation next week and throw 60-70 pitches in his first start, with David Phelps ready to replace him come the fourth or fifth inning.

“He means a lot to this club. We’ve seen that. We saw that a lot the first time,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We went on quite a roll. If they deem he’s ready to move around like he has to, he’ll be out there.”

 

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.