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 NEW YORK (AP) -Mike Mussina is set to rejoin the New York Yankees' rotation Thursday in Texas.
Sidelined since April 11 by a strained left hamstring, Mussina pitched a simulated game at Yankee Stadium on Friday before New York played the Boston Red Sox. Forced indoors by wet weather, he threw about 60 pitches and planned to work on fielding Saturday.
``Everything went as planned. I feel good and I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I have a chance to do some of the things I didn't do today because of the weather conditions,'' Mussina said through Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo.
Yankees manager Joe Torre said his tentative plan is to have Phil Hughes make his second major league start Tuesday and be followed by Andy Pettitte and Mussina.
For now, Kei Igawa has been relegated to the bullpen to work on his consistency, with pitching coach Ron Guidry given the task of overseeing the Japanese left-hander. Igawa, 1-1 with a 7.84 ERA in four starts, has struggled to throw breaking pitches for strikes.
``I think he'll get straightened out more in the 'pen working with Gator than to think it's a magical situation, that he's going to come out of the 'pen and find himself,'' Torre said. ``I think he's going to have to work some side sessions.''
Igawa was passed over for Saturday's start against Boston in favor of Jeff Karstens. Igawa plans on studying video of his mechanics from Japan in order to regain his form.
``I've been skipped over in Japan, too, so I was not surprised. In Japan, if you're not doing well, they usually skip starting pitchers,'' Igawa said through a translator, adding that he had to work on the mental part of the game. ``I understand the Japanese batter, how they bat, but I have a hard time with what major league batters are thinking when I throw my pitches. I don't know how they're going to react to my pitches.''
Carl Pavano, out since April 9 because of forearm soreness, threw on flat ground and is feeling better, according to Torre. The next step would be for the oft-injured right-hander to throw off a mound.
There is no timetable for Pavano's return, leaving Torre with a rotation of Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Mussina, Hughes and Karstens. While Hughes allowed four runs in 4 1-3 innings in losing his debut to Toronto on Thursday, the Yankees thought he threw well.
``When I took the ball from him, I said: `We'll see you out here again,''' Torre said.
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