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Andy Pettitte has setback in sim game

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andy Pettitte has a fully stocked locker in the visitor's clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium in anticipation of his rejoining the New York Yankees here on Saturday.

But this will not be a joyous reunion, because Pettitte is nowhere near ready to return to the mound for the first time since July 19.

Pettitte is coming to Kansas City to be re-evaluated by the Yankees training staff after suffering a setback in Tampa, Fla., early Friday while throwing a simulated game, which the Yankees hoped would be the final hurdle for him to clear before pitching a rehab game and returning to the active roster.

According to manager Joe Girardi, Pettitte felt pain in the area of the left groin strain he suffered in the third inning of a start against the Tampa Bay Rays last month at Yankee Stadium, and although he threw his full complement of 50 pitches, he was unable to deliver with full intensity.

"He felt he could only push off about 75 percent," Girardi said. "So he'll join us here tomorrow, we'll evaluate him and probably sit him down for a couple of days. Then we'll probably have to do it all over again before he can make his rehab start."

Girardi said Pettitte would not redo the simulated game until Wednesday at the earliest, which sets back his rehab start for at least five more days after that. That means at best, the Yankees cannot hope to have Pettitte return to their starting rotation until at least Aug. 28 and probably later than that.

At the time of the injury, Pettitte, 38, was off to the best start of his 16-year career, with an 11-2 record and 2.88 ERA.

"He's frustrated, but would you expect Andy any other way?" said Girardi, who spoke with Pettitte by phone Friday afternoon. "I definitely think he thinks it's a setback. But he's just not there yet."

The simulated game Pettitte attempted to throw Friday was originally scheduled for Thursday, but Pettitte canceled it when he felt some tightness in the hip flexor tendon on the same side as the groin injury. Girardi said Friday that Pettitte did not mention the hip problem but felt pain once again in the area of the original injury.

"He just doesn't feel like it's completely healed," Girardi said. "It's kinda moving around a little bit. He said he felt it in his groin. He just didn't have that full strength there today."

Girardi said that as of now, no tests were scheduled for Pettitte and there were no plans to send him back to New York to be examined by team physicians. "We're bringing him here so we can make him relax a little bit, give him a lot of treatment, stretch him if he needs it," Girardi said. "He probably just needs a little more rest, that's all."

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.