Ailing stars nearly ready to reinforce Yankees

NEW YORK — Injured stars Alex Rodriguez and Andy Pettitte are getting closer to rejoining the AL East-leading Yankees.

Pettitte threw 50 pitches in a simulated game Saturday morning at Yankee Stadium and said he had no problems with the strained left groin that has kept him out since July 19.

"I didn't feel anything," the left-hander said. "It was great. A step in the right direction."

One of the batters he faced was Rodriguez, sidelined with a strained left calf. The third baseman said he's close to being ready to play and will meet with Yankees staff to determine if he'll come off the disabled list today, the first day he's eligible.

Pettitte plans to throw a bullpen session Monday. The next step could be a rehab start in a minor-league playoff game this week. If all goes well, he could return to the rotation the following week during New York's road trip to Tampa Bay and Baltimore.

"He looked great. I'm glad I don't have to face him every day," Rodriguez said.

Pettitte also took fielding practice from the stadium mound. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said if he can go only about 75 pitches in his first start back, that would be okay.

"I thought his location and his stuff was really good. Wasn't favoring anything. His breaking ball was good, his changeup was good," Girardi said. "We're real happy."

LEE AILING: Rangers LHP Cliff Lee's next start is up in the air after he felt some discomfort in the area of his back where he recently got a cortisone shot. Lee didn't go through with his scheduled bullpen session and threw in the outfield instead.

The Rangers said Lee will try to throw again before today's game, then a decision will be made about whether he'll start Tuesday at Toronto.

In other Rangers news, SS Elvis Andrus left the game against the Twins with a tight right hamstring.

SILVA'S RETURN: Cubs RHP Carlos Silva is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Astros after missing more than a month because of a heart problem. He takes the spot of LHP Tom Gorzelanny, who will miss at least one turn after being hit in the left hand by a line drive Wednesday.

Silva, 10-5 with a 3.92 ERA, has not pitched since Aug. 1. He had a surgical procedure called cardiac ablation to correct a problem with his heart rate.

BRAVES: Already out for the season, 3B Chipper Jones was ejected from the game at the Marlins in the first inning. Jones was given the heave-ho by plate umpire Doug Eddings for arguing from the dugout after a 2-and-2 pitch to Florida's Hanley Ramirez was called a ball.

MARLINS: RHP Adalberto Mendez, 28, joined the club from Triple-A New Orleans and will make his major-league debut when he starts in the first game of a doubleheader Monday at Philadelphia.

METS: LHP Johan Santana, who left Thursday's start after five innings with a strained left pectoral muscle, expects to know if he'll make his next start after a bullpen session today.

PIRATES: 1B Jeff Clement is likely out for the season after an exam revealed a pulled left oblique muscle. He was hurt while rehabbing a left knee injury at Triple-A Indianapolis.

RED SOX: 1B Mike Lowell said he has been playing for the past couple of weeks with a non-displaced fracture in one of his left ribs. Lowell said he intends to play through the injury.

Ailing stars nearly ready to reinforce Yankees 09/04/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 4, 2010 10:19pm]

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