- Associated Press - Thursday, September 9, 2010

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte began a minor league rehabilitation start Thursday night by breezing through Double-A hitters as he works his way back from a groin injury.

Pettitte allowed two hits in four innings for the Trenton Thunder in an Eastern League playoff game. He struck out four against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Pettitte threw 51 pitches, 37 for strikes. He also uncorked two wild pitches.

A healthy Pettitte is considered crucial to the Yanks’ chances of repeating as World Series champions. The 38-year-old Pettitte is 11-2 with a 2.88 ERA in 18 starts.

The Yankees are closely watching Pettitte’s progress in light of the continued ineffectiveness of starters A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez, and the recent inconsistency of Phil Hughes.

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