Andy Pettitte has solid bullpen

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte said he had "a great day" in the Yankees' bullpen Wednesday.

But still, no one can say when he will have his next day on the mound.

Pettitte, out of action for more than two months with a left groin strain, threw 55 pitches Wednesday afternoon in what he called his most intense bullpen session since being injured in a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 18. Under the supervision of pitching coach Dave Eiland, Pettitte threw 30 pitches, sat down for about five minutes to simulate the break between innings and then returned to the mound to throw 25 more.

"It was a good, hard, simulated inning," Pettitte said. "It was definitely the best I've felt. It was a great day as far as I was concerned."

Pettitte said he felt some tenderness in the groin area after his last bullpen session Sunday in Chicago. "I think it was just kinda trying to get that muscle working again with the intensity of striding out as far as I do when I'm going hard," Pettitte said. "Obviously, I did more this time, so we'll have to see how I feel tomorrow."

"He went about as high intensity as you can in the bullpen," Eiland said.

Pettitte is expected to throw a simulated game at Yankee Stadium sometime Saturday, depending on how he feels Thursday, Eiland said after New York's 4-3 victory over Oakland.

"We've talked about a lot of things," Pettitte said before the game. "But we end every conversation with, 'Let's see how you feel tomorrow.'"

Pettitte said he expected the Yankees would want him to throw at least one rehab start, something that could not be attempted until he first throws batting practice or a simulated game. "I don't think there's any way they'd activate me without me getting into a game first somewhere," he said.

Aside from regaining command of his pitches and building up enough stamina to throw 100 pitches in a game, Pettitte also needs to demonstrate that he is well enough to field his position, too. "They'll probably want some guys to bunt on me, too," he said.

Asked whether he could still return within the time frame he proposed in Chicago, which would put him back on the mound around Sept. 12, Pettitte said, "To tell you the truth, I don't really know. It all depends on how I feel tomorrow."

Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.