NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte received good news from Monday's X-rays and will begin long tossing this week, but previous setbacks put enough fear in the 40-year-old lefty that he will take a cautious approach to his recovery from a fractured left ankle.

"I know that now if I have another setback, we've got serious problems and my season's probably over," Pettitte said. "Now we're probably going to be overcautious about what we can do to make sure I'm back."

Pettitte planned to travel on the Yankees' most recent road trip -- to Detroit and Toronto -- to begin long tossing then, but X-rays taken before the team's departure did not convince doctors that the lefty would be able to put necessary pressure on the ankle, which was fractured by a June 27 comebacker.

Pettitte previously traveled with the Yankees to Seattle and pushed himself too much, which created swelling that stunted the healing process, made it difficult to walk and cost him an estimated 10 days in his rehab.

"You have to watch Andy every step of the way," said manager Joe Girardi. "He thought it was going to heal in two weeks and he was going to be back on the mound in four, but that's just Andy. That's the competitive nature in him, so you have to watch what he does to make sure he doesn't do too much."

Girardi said the Yankees still plan to have Pettitte back this season, though a specific timeline remains uncertain.

Pettitte speculated he would need to be throwing off a mound by Sept. 1 in order to pitch in late September and be ready for the postseason. Girardi said Pettitte will need to prove he can throw 100 pitches in a game to be on the postseason roster.

For now, long tossing is the next step toward stretching out Pettitte's arm, while he continues working in a pool and riding a stationary bicycle. The next step would be jogging.

"My question is: 'When can I get on a mound?'" Pettitte said. "[Doctors] can't tell me exactly that yet, and that's all I care about.

"I'm trying to do what they tell me to do and take it as easy as I can until I can get on a mound. As soon as I can do that, I can have some kind of an idea of when I can be ready."

A-Rod ready to begin strength exercises

NEW YORK -- X-rays on Alex Rodriguez's fractured left hand brought back positive results on Tuesday, and the Yankees' third baseman will have a brace removed as he continues his recovery from a July 24 injury.

Rodriguez can now begin strengthening exercises; he was previously limited to running and throwing a football during batting practice. The Yankees initially announced that Rodriguez would miss four to six weeks, and that has not changed, as the club targets a September return.

"It's definitely better," manager Joe Girardi of Rodriguez's hand after the Yankees' 3-0 victory over the Rangers. "He's not quite ready to swing, but he will start doing strengthening exercises. That's a good sign for us."

Jeter climbs all-time hit list with 3,243

NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter singled in the first inning of Tuesday's 3-0 win over the Rangers, raising his career total to 3,243.

Due to discrepancies in historical stats, some numbers may differ, according to the source. Elias is the official statistician of Major League Baseball and recognizes Nap Lajoie as having 3,252 hits while other historical sources believe Lajoie had 3,242 hits, which would give Jeter sole possession of 12th place on the all-time career hits list. Lajoie played from 1896-1916 and spent time with Philadelphia and Cleveland.

Eddie Murray ranks 11th on the all-time list, after Lajoie, with 3,255 hits.

Lowe, Teixeira to join Arizona Fall League HOF

NEW YORK -- Right-hander Derek Lowe stood in his new clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on Monday, trying to put his struggles from Cleveland into perspective.

"I've always said that if you're fortunate to play a long time, if you don't struggle, you're probably going to be in the Hall of Fame," Lowe said. "I'm not a Hall of Famer."

The Arizona Fall League proved otherwise on Tuesday, announcing that Lowe, Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira and Rangers manager Ron Washington would be the three newest members of its Hall of Fame. All three are in New York for the Yankees' series with Texas -- a meeting of the top two clubs in the American League.

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and bench coach Tony Pena, as well as Rangers third baseman Michael Young, are already in the AFL's Hall of Fame.

"Our Fall League Hall of Fame roster swells to 31 members as we welcome Mark Teixeira, Derek Lowe and Ron Washington as our 2012 honorees," Fall League director Steve Cobb said in a statement. "Mark and Derek have been remarkably consistent professionals throughout their standout careers, and Ron has become one of the most respected managers in baseball."

Lowe pitched for two seasons in the Fall League -- 1993 and '95, representing the Mariners -- while Teixeira played in 2002 as a Rangers prospect.

Bombers bits

• Girardi said that Lowe would likely be unavailable out of the bullpen on Tuesday and Wednesday after throwing 44 pitches over four innings during Monday's 8-2 win over the Rangers in his Yankees debut.

• On Tuesday, Casey McGehee made his third start at third base since the Yankees acquired him from Pittsburgh at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The trio of McGehee, Eric Chavez and Jayson Nix were a combined 24-for-64 with seven homers, 15 RBIs and 17 runs scored in 18 games started at third base with Rodriguez on the disabled list.

• On this date in 1942, the Yankees set a Major League record with seven double plays behind starter Lefty Gomez and reliever Johnny Murphy in an 11-2 win against the A's. Three National League teams have since tied the record.