TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte threw 83 pitches over 5 1-3 innings in a minor league game on Wednesday.

Pettitte allowed five runs – one earned – and seven hits for Class-A Tampa against Philadelphia’s Clearwater team. All the runs came in the second, when Tampa committed three errors.

“I felt good with everything,” Pettitte said. “Obviously you always wish you could have a little better command sometimes. All in all, it was good. Got through it. Stretched me out.”

Pettitte struck out three and one walk. He had an aching left shoulder during the latter part of 2008, but has experienced no problems during spring training.

“It’s been great,” Pettitte said. “I didn’t think it was going to be a concern going into the season. I’m hoping that I worked hard enough that I shouldn’t have any problems.”

Pettitte went 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA in 33 starts last year.

In other news, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman again said he doesn’t expect injured third baseman Alex Rodriguez to rejoin the team before it breaks spring training camp next Wednesday. A-Rod, rehabbing in Vail, Colo. after right hip surgery on March 9, could move his workout program to the Yankees’ spring training complex in early April.

“It may be possible we would see him right before we leave, but I doubt it,” Cashman said. “I think he’ll get in here after we’ve departed Florida for New York.”

Rodriguez is working out in a pool, doing range of motion drills and lifting weights.

“He’s doing a lot of work,” Cashman said. “It’s going well.”

Cashman is pleased with the progress of catcher Jorge Posada, coming back following right shoulder surgery last July 30. Posada threw out Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury at second on a stolen base attempt in Tuesday night’s 7-1 win over the Red Sox.

“This is exactly where we hoped to be,” Cashman said. “That was pretty significant surgery. He’s worked hard to get here.”

Notes: Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte is expected to start the regular season with Class-A Charleston. He went 1-0 with 23 saves and an 0.83 ERA over 30 games in his first pro season last year at short-season Class-A Staten Island. “I’ve got a long way to go still,” Venditte said. “This year I want to develop more of a changeup from both sides and work that in there more. Maybe throw more fastballs from the left side. Improve my game as a whole, and take it season by season and just try to work my way up.” … Chinese LHP Kai Liu, signed by the Yankees in 2007, is set to start the season with the Yankees’ extended spring training team.

AP-ES-03-25-09 1706EDT


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