Pettitte targeted for Rays, Sox?

The Yankees will be rooting for Andy Pettitte to have a good bullpen session Wednesday because it would set into motion a scenario that could benefit them greatly against their American League East challengers.

Pettitte, who has been disabled since July 18 because of a strained left groin, was encouraged by his sideline work Sunday in Chicago when he threw at about 75 percent without feeling any discomfort. He’ll try to get closer to 100 percent Wednesday.

If all goes well, Pettitte may be in line to be back on the mound against major-league competition in about two weeks after some injury-rehabilitation assignments or simulated games. That would allow Pettitte to make four starts, all against either the Rays or the Red Sox for the remainder of the season in a theory proposed by WFAN Radio’s Sweeney Murti, to which I subscribe.

If Pettitte can start Sept. 14 or 15 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., then he would be in line to start against the Rays Sept. 20 at Yankee Stadium, against the Red Sox Sept. 25, also at the Stadium, and Oct. 1 at Fenway Park. Yes, I am getting way ahead of myself here, but if Pettitte continues to progress there is reason to believe that schedule could become reality.

Alex Rodriguez, out with a left calf strain, is not eligible to come off the disabled list until Sept. 5, which is Sunday. That means there will be no return engagement with Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden, who will start Thursday’s finale of the four-game series at the Stadium. Remember the firestorm that was created back in April when Braden berated A-Rod for trotting on the mound at the Oakland Coliseum while returning to first base after a foul ball?

Braden, who pitched a perfect game May 9 against Texas at Oakland, was on the DL when the Yankees returned to the Coliseum in July. By then, the bitterness was defused somewhat as both player signed “Get Off My Mound” t-shirts for charity. Braden still thinks Yankees fans will let him have it Thursday.

“It wouldn’t New York if they didn’t,” Braden said. “They have had awhile to think of some good stuff, so I’m sure they won’t disappoint me.”

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