Andy Pettitte believes he could start for the New York Yankees sooner rather than later, but his results in the Minor Leagues haven't beared that out.
The 39-year-old left-hander made his season debut for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday and allowed five runs -- three earned -- on eight hits in five innings in the Yankees' 7-5 loss to Pawtucket in Rochester, N.Y. He also struck out a season-high five, but issued two walks for the first time during his stint in the Minors.
Pettitte, who did not pitch professionally in 2011 before signing with New York in the offseason, allowed two doubles and two singles to the first four Red Sox hitters he faced in the first inning. After a coach's visit to the mound, the three-time MLB All-Star struck out the next two hitters and picked off Lars Anderson at first to end the frame.
He struggled again in the second, allowing three of the first four batters to reach before surrendering a bases-loaded walk to No. 11 Boston prospect Jose Iglesias to give the PawSox a 3-0 lead. At that point, he had thrown 52 pitches in the first two innings.
"We try to pull positives out of it. It was good for me that I really had to work hard that [first] inning," Pettitte told MLB.com. "In the back of my mind, I'm like, 'I'm throwing a lot of pitches here,' and I come in the dugout and the guys are like, 'Hey, you threw a lot of pitches that inning, let us know if you feel gassed or whatever over the next couple.' But I felt good. I felt as strong in the last inning as I did in the first inning."
After giving up two more runs in the fourth, Pettitte retired six in a row to conclude his outing after 92 pitches, 56 for strikes.
Although the results weren't quite there, the veteran said he was most proud of being able to limit the damage Sunday.
"It's good just to get out there, it's good to get into trouble and have to work my way out of trouble," Pettitte told MLB.com. "Just going through what you've got to go through to get game ready. I feel good. I felt like I was ready to go after my last start."
The four-time World Series champion has a 3.71 ERA after four starts in the Minors, but has not tossed more than five innings at a time. Still, he told MLB.com that he'd like to move onto the Majors soon if he can.
"I'll let [Yankees management] know what we've got going on," Pettitte said. "I feel like I'm ready. I feel like I'm ready to go up, and I think they're ready for me to come up. But I guess we'll just have to wait and see."
Iglesias went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored and has two hits in five straight contests. In that span, he has raised his average from .185 on April 29 to .253. Anderson finished 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.