Rain-out deprives Yankees' Pettitte of an extra start

By Larry Fine, Reuters

Posted at Sep 19 2012 03:35 PM | Updated as of Sep 19 2012 11:35 PM

NEW YORK - The long-awaited return of starting pitcher Andy Pettitte to the New York Yankees' rotation was put on hold as Tuesday's game against the Toronto Blue Jays was called off due to an oncoming rainstorm.

Pettitte, out since June 27 with a fractured ankle, will pitch the opener of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader for the American League East-leading Yankees that includes a make-up of the washed-out game.

The rain-out, however, scuttled plans for the 40-year-old to make four starts before the postseason to build up strength and get his bearings. His schedule will now only accommodate three starts for the veteran left-hander.

"Four starts? This pretty much eliminates that," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said with a shrug. "What are you going to do?"

Pettitte will start Wednesday's first game against Wilson Alvarez, with David Phelps going in the night game against Toronto's Ricky Romero.

Pettitte, who has won five World Series rings with the Yankees and tops the major league list for postseason wins with 19, has a 3-3 record with a 3.22 earned run average this season after coming out of a one-year retirement to return to baseball.

Looking ahead, Girardi said he was not sure whether captain Derek Jeter was ready to resume playing shortstop due to a bone bruise on his left ankle, and said slugging first baseman Mark Teixeira was progressing slowly from his calf injury.

Girardi said the club hoped Teixeira would be ready to return during the team's final road series of the regular season, in Toronto from Sept. 27-30.

The Yankee manager also said speedy outfielder Brett Gardner, out with an elbow injury since April, could see action as a defensive replacement or pinch-runner during the final regular season games and would not rule him off the postseason roster should the Yankees advance. (Editing by Frank Pingue)