Left-handed starter and New York Yankees great Andy Pettitte could return to the Yankees' rotation very soon. On Sunday, May 6, Pettitte will make what could be his final Triple-A start before returning to the Major League team. This gives Pettitte four starts in the Minors and one appearance in Spring Training, similar to what most starters do during a full Spring Training.
The Yankees need help in the rotation. Entering play on May 6, Yankee starters are 12th in the American League in ERA (5.60). They have given up the second most total runs (101 in 27 games, 6.09 runs per nine innings). Their WHIP is 1.49, 11th in the American League. In Pettitte's Minor League starts, he is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in 12 total innings. He has walked only one and struck out eight. Those numbers come from a very small sample, but they parallel what most starters would do in a full Spring Training. His May 6 game will add to those totals.
Pettitte says he is ready
Pettitte has declared himself ready. For most pitchers returning from any type of layoff, I would not get overly excited to hear that. Given a choice, any player would choose the Majors over the Minors and declare himself ready. However, Pettitte has pitched long enough to know how well he can contribute to the good of the team. If the goal is to win a World Series, then he would not want to hinder that goal even this early in the season by returning too early and pitching ineffectively.
Then again, with the Yankees' starters having trouble holding down the opposition, they need to make a move. Freddy Garcia is now in the bullpen. Pettitte's return could send Phil Hughes to the pen also. With Mariano Rivera out, the Yankees now need help in the pen as well as in the rotation. Bringing up Pettitte now would give the bullpen an extra arm for late-game situations. Hughes has pitched very poorly as a starter (1-4, 7.58) coming into his May 6th start. He may help more in middle relief and allow David Robertson and Rafael Soriano to fill the void in the closer's role. Soriano has succeeded as a closer for the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays, and Robertson looks like he could do the job.
Bringing up Andy Pettitte now is a good move for the Yankees. He has the experience, know-how, and arm to help get the Yankees' rotation back on track. Maybe strong performance for Pettitte will be contagious.
Major League Baseball, Sortable Team Statistics, mlb.mlb.com, May 6, 2012.
New York Yankees, Andy Pettitte Player Page, yankees.mlb.com, May 6, 2012.
New York Yankees, Pettitte Declares Himself Ready, yankees.mlb.com, April 30, 2012.
Raymond was born in Connecticut into a family spilt between the Red Sox and Yankees. Although he grew up in Florida, Raymond became a Yankees fan. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. He currently coaches Little League in Florida. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly MLB radio call-in show. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau
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