BOSTON -- Andy Pettitte's comeback trail to the big leagues will take him through Trenton, N.J., as the left-hander suits up to start on Wednesday for the Double-A Trenton Thunder.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced on Saturday that Pettitte is expected to throw 80-85 pitches in the Minor League start, which is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET against the Erie Seawolves.
"It's getting close to a reality now," Girardi said. "[If] you're up around 68 pitches, you're getting closer. Andy was a guy that was, for the most part, right around 100 for us anyway all the time."
Pettitte hit his last checkpoint on Friday, working to Pirates Minor Leaguers in an extended spring game in Tampa, Fla. Pettitte threw 58 of 66 pitches for strikes, permitting two earned runs on four hits. The 39-year-old walked none and struck out five.
Girardi suggested that Pettitte could be three turns away from rejoining the big league rotation. The left-hander hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since the 2010 American League Championship Series.
"I think that's realistic to look at -- three more Minor League starts, and then you make an evaluation of where he's at and what he needs," Girardi said.
No timetable after Pineda suffers setback
BOSTON -- Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda suffered a setback in an extended spring start on Saturday, feeling discomfort behind his pitching shoulder.
Pineda had to cut his outing short after just 15 pitches and will be sent to see a physician in Tampa, Fla., on Monday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
"I think it's somewhat significant, just because you were expecting him to build up," Girardi said. "Now, you're going to have to give him probably a little bit more time than we did before. I can't tell you when we'll get him back now."
The 23-year-old Pineda fell out of a Spring Training rotation competition when he was diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis after a March 30 Grapefruit League start.
Saturday marked Pineda's first time throwing in a game situation after rebuilding strength by working out and long-tossing at the Yankees' complex in Tampa.
"The one thing that you can't control is when the intensity turns up, how a guy is going to feel," Girardi said. "He still felt it."
Pineda was acquired from the Mariners in a blockbuster January deal along with Minor League right-hander Jose Campos in exchange for catcher/designated hitter Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi.
Garcia's dud necessitates Yankees' rally
BOSTON -- Freddy Garcia was able to escape Fenway Park without suffering a defeat on Saturday, but that aborted outing is only the beginning of his search for answers.
Garcia wasn't fooling anyone in the Red Sox lineup during his time on the mound in the Yankees' stunning 15-9 victory. He recorded just five outs and served up five runs on seven hits, knocked out after just 48 pitches.
"In the second inning, I felt better, [but] like I say, it was too late -- I already gave up five [runs]," Garcia said. "I don't know. Every pitch I was throwing, they hit. I threw a couple of good pitches in the first inning, and they hit it."
Four of Boston's hits off Garcia went for extra bases, with Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz pelting RBI doubles in the first inning.
"He didn't have his velocity today," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think it caused the other pitches to roll a little bit. He was up in the zone.
"He just didn't have his stuff today when he went out there, for whatever reason. We'll continue to work on it and see what's going on. He didn't have the arm speed that he's had and had all Spring Training."
Mike Aviles, Ryan Sweeney and Dustin Pedroia also knocked in runs off the veteran right-hander, who has permitted 14 runs (13 earned) and 20 hits in 12 innings over his first three starts this season, good for a 9.75 ERA.
"I asked him, 'Are you OK physically?' and he said, 'Yeah,'" Girardi said. "Sometimes, pitchers go through these types of things and you just have to find a way to work through it."
The Yankees endured a setback with right-hander Michael Pineda earlier on Saturday, but lefty Andy Pettitte remains on course to rejoin the rotation in the middle of May.
Garcia and Phil Hughes (6.75 ERA in three starts) seem to be the candidates to be bounced from the rotation to make space for Pettitte, and Saturday's start did not inspire confidence that Garcia should be spared.
"If don't pitch the way I have to pitch, that's my problem," Garcia said. "Whatever moves they have to do, they're doing it, no matter what. It's all about me. If I don't pitch good enough, that's my problem.
"I'm not thinking about who's coming back or they'll bring back. It's not my job to worry about it. My job to worry about is pitch good -- that's all."
Green Monster quirk agitates Girardi
BOSTON -- Even after 100 years of service, Fenway Park's quirks are still drawing curiosity. That was the case for Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was concerned during Friday's 6-2 Yankees win over the Red Sox about a hole in the left-field Green Monster.
The Monster has an opening between the "BALL" and "STRIKE" indicators for television cameras to operate -- the iconic Carlton Fisk shot in the 1975 World Series was captured from that location. Yet Girardi couldn't recall it ever being open for an entire game, as he said it was on Friday.
"As I said, I would hate to lose a game because a ball bounced in there," Girardi said.
Girardi checked with crew chief Tim Tschida, who said any ball hit inside the hole would be a ground-rule double. Girardi acknowledged that the odds of a ball going into that small space were slim and said that he didn't know if the hole would be open all day on Saturday.
"You have to live with it, but my thought is, there's a better way to do it, maybe," Girardi said.
Raul Ibanez wasn't expected to receive many at-bats against left-handed pitching, but he singled in the eighth inning on Friday against Red Sox lefty Justin Thomas. The Yankees' three-man bench played a part in the decision to stick with Ibanez, who batted .211 with a .232 on-base percentage against lefties last year with the Phillies.
Alex Rodriguez surpassed Ken Griffey Jr. on baseball's all-time list with his 631st home run on Friday, and A-Rod's next blast will even him with Bernie Williams (287) for sixth place on the Yankees' franchise list. Rodriguez hit 189 homers with the Mariners and 156 with the Rangers.
On this date in 1912, the Yankees and Giants staged a benefit game at the Polo Grounds for Titanic survivors. The contest, won by the Giants, 11-2, raised $9,425.25. On this date in 2009, Pettitte pitched the Yankees to a 5-3 win over the Athletics in the first night game at the new Yankee Stadium. Pettitte did not walk or strike out a batter, becoming the first Yankee to pitch seven innings without recording a strikeout or walk since Dave Eiland did it on Oct. 6, 1991, against the Indians.