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TB@NYY: Pettitte preps for start at Yankee Stadium

Don't look now, but Andy Pettitte is back.

The veteran southpaw will take the final step in his comeback when he takes the mound Sunday against the Mariners, his first appearance in the big leagues since 2010.

"I'm excited," said Pettitte, who can pitch his team to a sweep of the Mariners. "So excited to just get back in uniform and get back with the guys and just hang with them on the bench and stuff like that. The fans' [support while I've been] making my starts down in the Minor Leagues, that's just been awesome. It's time now. I've got my pitch count up, and it's time to get up here and try to get going up here now."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is hoping Pettitte picks up where he left off.

"I kind of expect him to be what he was in 2010," Girardi said before Saturday's game. "I don't know if that is quite fair after taking a year and a half. That's what I know. That's what I'm using to seeing -- him really grinding out starts, him getting double-play balls. Doing little things to help himself get out of innings."

Pettitte sat out 2011 after posting a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts in 2010. He also made two starts in the postseason, including his last appearance, an Oct. 18 loss to the Rangers in the American League Championship Series. A groin injury limited him to 129 innings in the regular season.

Girardi said he expected Pettitte to be able to throw about 100 pitches after making four starts in the Minor Leagues.

The Mariners will counter with a veteran pitcher of their own. Kevin Millwood hasn't gotten off to the best start in Seattle, sporting an 0-4 record with a 5.88 ERA. The struggles have gone beyond the stats for the veteran, as Millwood and young catcher Jesus Montero were unable to get on the same page in the righty's last outing.

"I'll take the blame for that," Millwood said after his last start. "We probably should have communicated a little more before the game. I wanted to do some things that were a little different than what I normally do, and I guess I didn't communicate enough to him what I was trying to do."

Mariners manager Eric Wedge announced Saturday he planned to start Montero behind the plate for Sunday's game.

Mariners: Plenty of power on the road
After Mike Carp's solo home run Saturday, the Mariners have scored 16 of their last 21 runs on the road via homers. The team's 13 consecutive runs off home runs from April 27-May 2 tied for the second longest such streak in club history.

Seattle just missed adding two more runs via the long ball Saturday, as Carp hit a ball in the ninth inning that was originally ruled a homer, but the umpires changed the call to an RBI double after using instant replay.

Yankees: Ibanez finds his stroke
Raul Ibanez enters Sunday's contest with four home runs in his last four games. During that stretch, the former Mariner has eight RBIs and a double.

Worth noting
Many Yankees players have found immense success against Millwood during their careers. Of players who have had at least 18 plate appearances against Millwood, seven are hitting at least .300. Nick Swisher has hit four home runs and Alex Rodriguez three off of the veteran right-hander.

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