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Pettitte looks ready to go

Andy Pettitte pitched his way back into the Yankees' immediate plans.

The left-hander had not pitched in a major-league game since March 3 because of a strained muscle in his left elbow, but he was impressive Monday in a 4-3 win over the Phillies. Pettitte gave up one run and three hits in four innings, with three strikeouts and a walk.

"I felt really good," Pettitte said. "I threw everything 100 percent from the get-go. I could have went a little harder today, but I'm just trying to stay under control."

In Pettitte's last outing, against Triple-A Syracuse on March 20, he allowed four earned runs and five hits in three innings. Manager Joe Torre said Saturday that Pettitte would not start the season on the major-league roster, but he changed his tune Monday. "We just don't know where he'll fit in," he said.

VENTURA HURT: Third baseman Robin Ventura is questionable for the opener after spraining his left ankle.

In the third inning with a runner on first, he hit a ground ball to Phillies first baseman Dave Hollins. After throwing to second Hollins backtracked to first, and Ventura stepped on his foot on the bag.

"I tried to get over his leg and just turned it," Ventura said. "I've had worse."

WIN, AGAIN: The Yankees won for the 12th time in 13 games behind a run-scoring pinch-single from Shane Spencer in the seventh and a home run from John Vander Wal in the eighth. Nick Johnson hit his fifth home run of the spring and had a run-scoring groundout.

TODAY: Pittsburgh travels to Tampa for a 7:15 p.m. game. Mike Thurman starts for the Yankees.


Key reserve Perez hurts knee

CLEARWATER _ Utilityman Tomas Perez likely will be out at least three weeks after injuring his left knee in a collision Monday.

In the seventh, pinch-hitter Spencer slid hard into the Phillies second baseman to break up a double play and hit Perez squarely in the knee. He lay on the field for several minutes and was carted off.

Perez was scheduled to have an MRI, but manager Larry Bowa said the team doctor did not believe the anterior cruciate ligament was torn.

MORE BAD NEWS: Left-hander Randy Wolf complained of stiffness in his elbow after pitching Sunday and will miss his final spring start.

AND ON TOP OF THAT : Leftfielder Pat Burrell left the game after tweaking his shoulder after an at-bat, but Bowa said it was only a precaution.

TODAY: The Phillies travel to Lakeland for a 1:05 game against the Tigers. Right-hander Brandon Duckworth starts.


Bush breaks out of slump

WINTER HAVEN _ Homer Bush and Chris Woodward had three hits each and the Blue Jays pounded Cleveland starter Charles Nagy for five in a 12-10 loss Monday.

Bush, expected to be the starting second baseman, went in batting .222 before hitting two singles and a double in his first three at-bats.

INJURY REPORT: Outfielder Jose Cruz (ribs) and shortstop Felipe Lopez (elbow) took batting practice, and manager Buck Martinez said the pair could play today. X-rays taken on first baseman Carlos Delgado's sore neck were negative.