Andy Pettitte hurt his back on Monday in Texas, stretching in the outfield after a workout. He loosened up enough to start tonight but aggravated his condition a few times when he slipped on the mound.
Pitchers dig a hole for their landing foot and need traction to keep from skidding. Pettitte missed his spot a few times and every time he did, it caused pain to flare up. That’s what you saw in the third inning when he walked Vic Martinez and Jhonny Peralta to load the bases.
But Pettitte fought through five innings. Once he was unable to finish off his pitches, Joe Girardi came and got him.
“He’s a fighter. He’s going to find a way to get through it,” Jorge Posada said. “I’ve known Andy a long time and he’s not coming out even if he’s messed up. He wouldn’t admit it.”
Pettitte made a sour face when asked if he would miss his next start.
“No, no, no,” he said. “I’ll be there.”
Girardi also said he expects Pettitte to be there. But the Yankees will keep an eye on him. There is no sense risking further injury at this point in the season, especially with Chien-Ming Wang twiddling his thumbs.
Tonight marked the 58th time that Mariano Rivera saved a victory for Pettitte. That broke the record held by Dennis Eckersley and Bob Welch. The Eck was here tonight, as it turns out, prepping for the TBS telecast on Sunday.
As records go, it’s not much to excited about. A save is sort of meaningless (as is a win, often times) and Rivera didn’t much seem to care. But it is a testament to longevity.
“We’ve been together a long time,” Rivera said. “My memory doesn’t go that far.”
Of greater significance is that the Yankees have won 13 of 16, they’re in first place and are performing well in all three aspects of the game.
Yanks-Tribe again tomorrow. CC Sabathia back in Cleveland, facing Fausto Carmona. 7:05 start on YES. We’ll drop a few posts on you during the day.