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Weather foils New York Yankees' Andy Pettitte from making first spring start

TAMPA — LHP Andy Pettitte peered over his raised black glove for a sign from the catcher, shook him off, nodded "okay" then froze SS Jimmy Rollins with a changeup for strike three. Vintage Pettitte.

Too bad the sequence took place in a batting cage under the stands at Steinbrenner Field — and Philadelphia's Rollins was nowhere to be found.

Rain forced the Yankees' bus to turn around about an hour into the trip to Viera on Friday, and Pettitte's first spring start was turned into a simulated outing.

"I got my normal warmup in, and then I got all my throws in and I'm tired," Pettitte said. "That's the biggest thing; I wanted to make sure I was good and fatigued."

After a two-inning simulated game on a back field Sunday, Pettitte went three innings Friday and threw 50 pitches, mixing in several breaking balls.

"I don't need big-league hitters. I need my sequences, that's all I need to get in rhythm. I know what I want to do with a hitter," he said.

Manager Joe Girardi wasn't concerned that Pettitte would now attempt to make his first start of spring Wednesday. "He's got four more starts. We'll make sure he sees live people," he said.

Jays: Promising Drabek sent down

DUNEDIN — As they said they would, the Blue Jays sent pitching prospect Kyle Drabek to the minor-league camp.

Manager Cito Gaston said the club was upfront with all its prospects about where they likely would end up, but he liked what he saw from the right-hander.

Drabek, 22, allowed four hits and two runs with three strikeouts and three walks in two appearances. The son of former big-leaguer Doug Drabek had two shutout innings against his old organization, the Phillies.

Drabek was involved in the series of trades that sent pitcher Roy Halladay to the Phillies, but the plan for Drabek has been to start him in Double A or Triple A this season.

"He was ready to go and get himself together and come back," Gaston told MLB.com. " … You never know when he's going to be back here. He has the stuff to pitch here."

What's Next: Friday's game against the Astros was rained out, so the scheduled starter, LHP Brian Tallet, threw a simulated game indoors. LHP Ricky Romero, competing for a rotation spot, is scheduled to pitch today against the Braves.

Phillies: Two whiffs

Rain forced the cancellation of the Phillies' split-squad games against the Tigers and Rays.

One of Friday's starters, LHP J.A. Happ, will pitch today against the Twins. RHP Kyle Kendrick is slated for Sunday vs. the Orioles, and RHP Roy Halladay is set for Monday in Bradenton against the Pirates.

FAST FACTS

Yankees

Where: George Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa. Today: at Tigers, 1:05, Lakeland; vs. Orioles, 1:05, Tampa. Information:

yankees.com

Phillies

Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater. Today: vs. Twins, 1:05, Clearwater, MLB Network. Information:

phillies.com

Blue Jays

Where: Dunedin Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin. Today: at Braves, 1:05, Kissimmee. Information: blue

jays.com

Weather foils New York Yankees' Andy Pettitte from making first spring start 03/12/10 [Last modified: Saturday, March 13, 2010 6:30pm]
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