One year ago today, Andy Pettitte returned

andy-pettitte-360x540Amazingly, today marks the one year anniversary of Andy Pettitte’s return from retirement.

It had seemed that the old lefty had left the game for good following the 2010 season, as absolutely no murmurs of a potential comeback were spread during 2011. Andy was enjoying life at home in Texas, being there for his family like he hadn’t been for almost his entire adult life.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were doing just fine without him. Piecing together a starting rotation featuring Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, the team won 97 games and the A.L. East. Andy even threw out the first pitch to Jorge Posada prior to Game 2 of the ALDS, making a brief re-appearance in New York. It was a great, yet unfortunate moment, as fans knew he went out on the top of his game, and probably could have helped the Yanks that October.

The season ended and soon after it was reported Andy Pettitte would be back with the Yankees – as a spring instructor, that is. Any remaining fans holding out for a return of #46 probably finally gave up when the team bolstered its pitching staff by acquiring Michael Pineda and signing Hiroki Kuroda. If there wasn’t even a rotation spot open, how could anyone expect him to put the pinstripes back on, or longer than the two weeks Andy was scheduled to be down in Tampa that is.

Spring training beckoned and indeed Pettitte was back in uniform. Throwing BP, helping out minor leaguers, and getting his chops busted by his former teammates, Andy was reportedly in incredible shape. Of course, a beer belly wouldn’t form over one year, but still it looked as if he was keeping his body in baseball shape.

And that’s when our sneeky general manager Brian Cashman got to work. Andy had indeed been working out, and wanted to pitch again. It was a shocking development that was kept under wraps for a few weeks, as the then 39-year old threw a few bullpen sessions testing how it felt to be back on a mound after so long.

The Yankees must have been pleased with what they saw, for on March 16th, 2012 it was announcedby YES Network’s Jack Curry that they had signed back their homegrown ace to a minor league contract worth up to $2.5 million in incentives. To the public, it seemed completely out of the blue and many fans were shocked but elated to have Pettitte back.

Still, there was no guaruntee of him even getting back to the major leagues. He had to mak e a number of starts at various levels in the Yankees’ farm system while the regular season was underway, to make sure that his “stuff” could still get out professional baseball players.

When the Yanks finally purchased his contract and called him up to officially return to Major League Baseball, it just so happened to be Mother’s Day. Facing the Mariners, Pettitte quickly settled down and before you knew it he was pitching like he never left. Four earned runs in 6.1 innings was a start typical to Andy’s career, but his performance following that was exceptional.

He would pitch to a 2.87 ERA in an injury-shortened season, posting an 8.2 K/9 ratio while striking out batters at an astronimcal rate. In the postseason he was dandy as he’s always been, allowing just 5 runs total in two starts. He didn’t add to his record 19 postseason wins, but he certainly deserved to.

And so here we are today. Andy Pettitte is back for 2013 as well and is pitching [aside from two subpar outings] as well if not better than many of the top flight starters in MLB. Each night he takes the mound it really is a treat to watch, because a little over a year ago we were certain to have seen the last of old #46. He’s gotten a new appreciation and love for the game thanks to his year off, and hopefully the rest he got then can keep him healthy and productive for the Yanks throughout this season. As in each of his past 17 seasons, we’ll need him.

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About Brian D.

A passionate 15-year old Yankees fan who has hopes of becoming an MLB journalist or broadcaster. He brings an optimistic, yet realistic take on the Yanks to Yankees Fans Unite, and essentially lives and breathes baseball.

Posted on May 13, 2013, in No Category and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. Brian….and everyone…Do you think Andy will rebound from his last 2 starts? He clearly looked uncomfortable and out of sync….hope its nothing physical and just a rough patch where he’ll regain his movement on his Cutter and improve his command. But when you are older, doubts about health will always crop up when performance suffers.

    • I think so, he looked much better in his last start in Kansas City. He hasn’t had that bad a stretch of games in a long time, and I think it’s a matter of just regaining confidence in his stuff, like you said his cutter especially, and the rest will follow. Staying healthy is key and I’m pretty sure he is right now. So fingers crossed, he should be alright.

    • fishjam, I don’t like making excuses for him, but it’s been a cold spring. That could hurt some pitchers ability to perform. I need to see more to make a judgement. At this point Andy is on a long leach.

    • Unfortunately, it looks like my concerns about Andy’s health was valid. Out with a tight trap muscle. And then Chris Stewart leaves with a groin injury…..this is just unreal.

      • fishjam, things don’t look good for Andy, at least the Yanks have Nuno and Warren to fall back on. Time to bring up Murphy if Stewart is out. Lucky for the Yanks all their catchers are playing well from Charleston to Scarnton.

        • Yeah, I’d rather see Andy go on the DL to get healthy than to try to pitch through it and never be 100%. As you mentioned, Nuno and Warren are both throwing well and could step in for 2-3 starts while Andy recuperates.

          As for Stewart, the Yanks need to bring up another Catcher even if he’s only out for a couple of games. But groin injuries usually linger if you don’t treat them properly and he may need DL time also. Murphy is having a great season in AA but I wonder if they will go with him or veteran Bobby Wilson in AAA. Knowing Girardi/Cashman, I can’t see them going with 2 rookie Catchers on the roster together. Wilson is a Stewart type of player….good defense, weak bat.

          • I agree. But Andy did recover the first time missing only one start. He had a good start in KC and the velocity was touching 90 tonight on his fastball until the fifth. We’ll have to see but it might be a situation where the Yankees will just have to automatically skip him every four or five starts or so to keep him fresh.

            Stewart I hope isn’t out long. He calls a great game and it would be very though for the rotation to adjust to another new, inexperienced catcher – be it Wilson or Murphy, especially with all the old hurlers who know their catchers and vice versa.

            Until the Yankees start to lose due to these injuries I won’t be worried. They’ve managed it so well up until this point. I hope it’s no different when it comes to Andy and Stu

            • You’re right Bri….somehow they’ve managed to win even with all the injuries but it’s getting harder. The lineup looks really weak some nights. Hopefully Hafner returns and Granderson can find his swing. Grandy had 3 hits today but 2 were infield tappers. If he gets going, Hafner gets back to his old form and Adams hits like he’s capable the offense can start to click. Ichiro, Nix and Romine have been black-holes for most of the year.

              • Amazing how I actually would prefer having Ibanez still here than Ichiro. No one should get a two-year contract and guaranteed starting spot after a three week hot streak. Other than that Ichy has been atrocious the past two seasons.

                • Brian, I agree with you on Ichiro except he is a Hall of Famer. He give the Yanks some good defense. I might have signed him, but not for 2 years. I like bringing up Murphy over Wilson, he a better hitter and it will energize the minor league system. The players will know that if they perform there is a chance to get to the major leagues.

                  • Yeah, don’t get me wrong I loved Ichiro last year and I’m happy to get a chance to see him play in the Yankees uniform. But a two year deal is just marketing to me. They were hoping to be able to sell “ICHY3K” merchandise everywhere, but he probably will not even come close at this rate. Sad to say, but true.

                    • 2-yr deal for Ichiro was a very bad move. Would have preferred Schierholz on a 1-yr deal or Tori Hunter or Melky. They really needed a RH bat so the light hitting, lefty swinging Ichiro wasn’t wise. I would have been OK for 1 year but 2 years was a bad decision.

          • Wilson is hitting in the .100′s at Triple A. Give Murphy a shot

  2. All pitchers have bad stretches where they get hit a little more than usual. Was just more concerned with Andy’s body language and demeanor. he’s usually so locked in and in control. Hopefully he looks better tomorrow. With Andy, you just hope he stays healthy…..if healthy you keep running him out because he’ll eventually figure things out.

  3. Jayson Nix is terrible wherever he bats 1st through 9th but in what world should he be batting second? Absolutely killled us tonight

  4. Bringing up the young players allows the Yanks to find a diamond in the ruff, which is just what they need right now!

  5. Hall of Famers, one can’t play a guy that is a sure thing HoF player if he is not better than the player they have to replace him with. The Yankees have; Mo, Jeter, A-Rod, Itchy and maybe Cano that may be could be called HoF sure things but, if anyone of them is not doing their job…replace them with someone that will get the job done! Team (money) comes first, without wins…no money!

    Two things to remember about sports; it is a business and it is a business!

    • old yankee, you missed my point, Ichiro will get a little more slack than your average player. It is way too early to give up on a player of his ilk

      • Doug, ichiro will get more slack because of who he is and because they have committed a 2-yr deal to him, but how about Ben Francisco? How much slack do we have to give him? Jeeez….could they at LEAST stop hitting him 5th?!? I’d rather give Mustelier or Thomas Neal a shot….Francisco is stiiiinky

    • You are right Old Yank…..should be the best guy for the job plays but money and length of contract will always come into decisions. And right now, the yanks are so thin they don’t really have a better option than Ichiro. They could call up Zoilo Almonte and let him play everyday or Mustelier….but with ichiro’s track record and 2-yr contract, he will be given benefit of the doubt until there is a clear-cut better player.

      • old yankee, you didn’t see them sitting Mantle when he was going bad near the end of his career, unless his knees needed some rest.

        • doug…
          The reason they didn’t sit Mickey was because, as much as his game had gone south…he was still one of the best players they had. Does that tell you how bad the team was his last few years? All the players retired about the same time; Bobby Richardson, Kubeck, Whitey, Andy Cairy and one or two more(?).
          What good is Jeter, if he can’t play defence? DH? Not a singles hitter for DH.
          What good is Itchy if he can’t get on base enough nor get 200 +/- hits?
          What good is A-Rod, if he can’t have 90+ RBIs, 30-45 HRs! DH, is it for him (contract).
          We have players that can play SS, 3rd and 1st. The Yankees can eat a one or two year contract but not a 7 year deal.

          • old yankee, you hit the nail on the head, A-Rod’s contract will hurt the Yanks the most, do they do the same with Cano?

        • fishjam/doug…
          I understand why it will be Itchy until the wheels fall off, I keep hoping he will return to last years Itchy, we could use him anytime now.

          • OldYank…..We may begin to see less of Ichiro now that Hafner is back. Ichi is on the bench with Granderson in RF for the first time. Although Grandy just cost us a run by misplaying a line drive over his head. Granderson’s #1 fault as an OF is his reading the ball off the bat and taking poor routes to the ball. In CF he used his speed to run down a lot of his mistakes but playing RF at Yankee Stadium isn’t as forgiving as the ball gets on you faster with the short porch.

  6. Another gem for Kuroda, the Yanks have to try and sign this guy again for next year. He is another Ace with CC.

    • Kuroda is unbelievable. Who would think at 37-38 yrs old, moving from the NL West to the AL East he would become a veritable #1/2 type starter. Really have to hope he’ll come back next year.

  7. Fishjam, I’m almost ready to move Adams into the 2 spot.

    • A lot to like about adams right Doug? He seems like a good hitter for the 2-hole…..uses the whole field, good strikezone judgement, takes walks, his LHP & RHP well. And for this yankee team, a RH bat is needed to break up Gardner and Cano.

      • Adams seems to have the right stuff to be a #2 hitter, as you pointed out fishjam. The test will come when the league adapts to him, can he adapt to them? The big problem may come IF A-Rod comes back as the A-Rod of OLD +/- a small bit…Adams can’t hit as well as A-Rod does at 90%.
        Where will they play him if that is the case? Maybe right field next year?
        I like this kid, we need another good, right-handed bat!
        There is the chance A-Rod can be the DH and Adams at 3rd.
        Of course this is all predicated on A-Rod being A-Rod.
        The same holds true for Jeter and Nunez.
        Next year we will have 1 or 2 kids pushing for an OF job. The only vets that we know are coming back for next year are; Cisco, Romine(?), Tex, Cano, A-Rod, Jeter(?), Nunez, Brett and Itchy(?).
        We could have two openings in the OF, one at 3rd.
        I am glad I am not Joe or Cashman, they have a tough job for this year and next. :(

        • Yeah, so much can change by next year…who knows what we can epect from guys like Jeter and ARod will both be about 39 yrs old.

          But for right now I’m pulling for Adams to do well. If he hits thy’ll find a spot for him. He’s natural 2B who has also played 3B and 1B. He’s had problems staying healthy so I’m just looking at how he can help right now.

          I thought bringing in Reid Brignac was a decent move also. He provifes another option at SS and his versatility tp play IF and OF helps. I still think they need to pull the plug on Francisco in favor of Mustelier or Thomas Neal.

          • fishjam, Brignac is a poor man’s Zobrist, the best thing about all the injuries is that this team is better than last years team defensively. This should help the pitchers as it has already with one of the best ERAs in the AL.

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