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Astros give him more time to recover

HOUSTON -- Astros pitcher Andy Pettitte will be held out of his scheduled Friday start against Colorado to give his strained left elbow more time to heal.

Pettitte, eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list
Thursday, instead will pitch a simulated game Friday at Houston's
spring training facility in Kissimmee, Fla. He said he should be
ready for his next start, April 29 at Pittsburgh.

Pettitte went through another extended bullpen session -- about
80 pitches -- before Houston's game against St. Louis on Tuesday. He
said there was no pain but he still felt a little twinge in his
elbow during the session.

"I thought I was pitching in Colorado for sure," Pettitte
said. "But I can understand the decision. It's probably the smart
thing to do. There's no need to go out there and do something
stupid."

The Astros decided to push back Pettitte rather than have him
pitch at Denver, which is expecting chilly weather and possibly
snow later in the week.

Pettitte injured his elbow while trying to check his swing in
his debut with the hometown Astros on April 6 against San
Francisco.

"Whatever I did on that check swing is what I'm still
feeling," Pettitte said.

Manager Jimy Williams was adamant that this decision wasn't a
setback in Pettitte's rehabilitation.

"We're not going to prove anything by pitching him right now,"
Williams said. "We're just going to back off a little more and
hopefully he can make the next start. He's not quite ready to pitch
in a big league game right now."

Right-hander Brandon Duckworth will start in place of Pettitte
against the Rockies on Friday.

Pettitte signed a three-year, $31.5 million free-agent contract
in December after spending nine years with the New York Yankees.

In his first start with Houston, he allowed six runs and 11 hits
over 5 1/3 innings in the loss to the Giants.

Pettitte went 21-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 33 starts last season in
New York. His last stint on the disabled list came from April 21 to
June 14, 2002, when he was out with left elbow tendinitis.