Pettitte's first start of 2008 season pushed back

Updated: March 25, 2008, 11:25 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Andy Pettitte will miss his first scheduled start of the regular season on April 2 against Toronto because of back spasms.

Spring Training Blog

Check our daily spring training blog with updates on everything our team of writers and analysts are seeing and hearing at the ballpark, plus news tidbits from around the baseball world. Blog

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi expects Pettitte will start the third or fourth game instead.

"He's better," Girardi said Tuesday.

Pettitte was slated to throw off a bullpen mound Wednesday. If that goes well, he would pitch in a minor league game Saturday.

"I'm planning on it," Pettitte said. "But again, like I've said, if I start playing catch and feel like I may not be able to do it and be comfortable with it, or I feel like I might aggravate it, I'll wait one more day. It would be stupid to try to force something right now when I've got extra days to play with."

Chien-Ming Wang is to start Monday's opener and be followed in the rotation by Mike Mussina.

Pettitte played catch for the second straight day Tuesday, making 42 throws during a six-minute session.

"I still feel it a little bit, but it feels a lot better than it did yesterday," Pettitte said. "Definitely feel like I could get out over my front side a little bit more. The good thing today is that I felt like it loosened up as I threw. I threw a little bit harder today. I definitely feel like it's progressing. That's a positive."

In other news, Joba Chamberlain allowed one run, two hits and two walks over one inning in a Double-A game. He threw 8 of 18 pitches for strikes.

"I felt great," said Chamberlain, who will pitch again Wednesday. "I went back to back twice last year. Getting it going early now is definitely going to give a good sense to see how my arm comes back."

Chamberlain pitched for the second time since being told he would start the season in the bullpen. Considered a future starting pitcher, the right-hander went 2-0 with an 0.38 ERA in 19 games during his rookie season last year as the set up man for closer Mariano Rivera.

"I probably won't pitch more than three days in a row," Chamberlain said. "I've got to be honest, and let them know how my arm feels. If it's a little tender on the second day I've got to say something."

Left-hander Sean Henn, slowed by a sore left shoulder, was expected to pitch in a minor league game Wednesday.

Notes

The Yankees will wear uniform patches commemorating their final season at Yankee Stadium (left sleeve) and hosting the All-Star Game (right sleeve).


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press