New York Yankees lefthander Andy Pettitte will halt his preparation for the upcoming season due to a muscle strain in his left elbow.
Pettitte, who signed a one-year contract for a reported $5.95 million last month, left Sunday's exhibition with the Minnesota Twins after one inning because of "mild stiffness" in his elbow. He will not begin throwing again for 7-10 days.
"It's going to be a long several days," said Pettitte, who threw seven pitches against the Twins before departing. "I'm satisfied because if it was serious, it would hurt. It didn't feel comfortable yesterday."
Pettitte struggled at times in 1998 but still finished 16-11 with a 4.24 ERA and clinched New York's second World Series championship in three seasons with 7 1/3 scoreless innings in a 3-0 victory in Game Four over the San Diego Padres. Pettitte has tossed 15 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings in World Series play, dating to 1996 against the Atlanta Braves.
"He probably will (be ready for the start of the season), but we don't know how long it will be," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "We'll just gradually extend it."
Pettitte, won 12 games as a rookie in 1995 and has been the AL's winningest pitcher since, going 55-26. After 100 major league starts, Pettitte had a .671 winning percentage (53-26), the seventh-highest of any pitcher in the postexpansion era (1961).
In 1998, Pettitte became the first Yankee to accumulate more than 200 innings pitched in three straight seasons since Ron Guidry accomplished the feat from 1977-80.
For his career, Pettitte is 67-35 or a .657 winning percentage, the second-highest among active pitchers with at least 100 starts, behind Baltimore's Mike Mussina, and the sixth-best all-time for the Yankees.
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