NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi spent time before Wednesday's game leading the wide-eyed Uganda Little League World Series club around the Yankees' clubhouse, and said he was happy to be able to spend time with them.
"It's a wonderful story. It takes everyone back to your Little League days," Girardi said. "To watch what these kids have accomplished, and talking to their coaches; none of them had even seen an airplane before, or ever traveled before. For them to accomplish what they have is truly amazing."
The first team from Africa to participate in the Little League World Series, the Uganda players were invited on the field at Yankee Stadium for batting practice and to take part in roll call from Section 203 of the bleachers.
"It's a bunch of kids who are really just starting to play the game," Girardi said. "To be able to make it to the World Series and compete at a very high level is truly remarkable. It was a thrill for me to meet them, because I think from a human interest standpoint, we all were excited to watch them play and see their athleticism."
Pettitte's next step is throwing off pitcher's mound
NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte said his fractured left ankle felt good Wednesday, a day after he threw three sessions of 20 pitches off flat ground while going into his normal windup for the last 10 or 12 tosses. While he was unsure of the next step, manager Joe Girardi said the hope is for the 40-year-old to throw off a mound this weekend for the first time since he took a comebacker off his push-off foot.
Pettitte estimated he would have to make at least two Major League starts to be prepared for the postseason, likening it to his return from retirement earlier this season, when he felt "out of sorts" in his first game back. But his rehab will be accelerated with the Minor League seasons ending shortly and October approaching.
"This is a tough game, and some of the ways you have to get people back, you have to be somewhat creative," Girardi said. "We'll do that. That's what we're going to do, and we'll figure it out."
Girardi said simulated games at Yankee Stadium could take the place of rehab starts, and he did not dismiss the idea of essentially rehabbing Pettitte in the big leagues, although he recognized that is more difficult with New York's lead atop the American League East sitting at 3 1/2 games entering Wednesday's series finale against Toronto. It is possible, though, given that rosters can expand on Saturday, which allows Girardi a larger bullpen and the potential to lift Pettitte after three or four innings in favor of a reliever as Pettitte builds up his arm strength.
Pettitte said his arm feels good, but he and his manager are both concerned about his stamina.
Pettitte has yet to run, preferring to get himself back on a mound before he takes another step in his recovery. Conditioning in the two months since his June 27 injury was limited to riding a stationary bike and swimming.
"I still know I'm a long ways away, having not gotten on a mound yet," Pettitte said. "Obviously it's frustrating, but I've gotten over that whole point. Now I'm just trying to get to the point to get on a mound and start working to get back."
Andruw tweaks fingers trying to make diving grab
NEW YORK -- Andruw Jones had his left hand wrapped with ice after the Yankees' 8-5 loss to the Blue Jays on Wednesday, but does not expect that the injury will cost him any time.
Jones said his fingers "went back a little bit" as he dove for Yunel Escobar's two-run double in the top of the ninth inning, but that it did not hurt as he swung the bat in his later at-bat.
"I got my fingers caught up into the ground, and rolled over a little bit," Jones said. "Those are tough plays, but if you get your glove to them, you've got to make them."
Jones has had a rough season, but manager Joe Girardi put him in the cleanup spot on Wednesday against lefty J.A. Happ, hoping to jolt his production.
Jones went 1-for-4 with a walk and RBI single, and has just five hits in his last 39 at-bats.
"He's a guy that we know can get really hot against left-handers," Girardi said. "I think it's important that we get him going, and we're trying. Andruw's been through this before, where he's struggled and come out of it in a big way, and I'm hoping it happens. We still expect him to be productive."
On Tuesday, Steve Pearce became the first player to make his Yankees debut batting in the No. 4 spot since Glenallen Hill, who did it on July 24, 2000, at Baltimore, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Yankees hosted "Special Olympics Day" at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Approximately 20 Special Olympics athletes, all from the Bronx, were invited to join Yankees players at their positions for the national anthem.
Derek Jeter entered play on Wednesday leading the Majors with 41 hits in August. It marks the 15th time in his career that he has recorded at least 40 hits in a month.
On this date in 1972, Bobby Murcer became the ninth Yankee to hit for the cycle in a 7-6 win over the Rangers.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.