When the Yankees boarded the bus to Clearwater this morning, the sky was grey and the forecast said a 30 to 50 percent chance of rain. Not great considering Andy Pettitte opened the exhibition schedule with a sim game, then had to pitch another simulated game when his second outing was rained out last week.
By game time, the sky was mostly clear, and Pettitte was able to get on the mound for an encouraging spring training debut: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. The walk came on a 3-2 curveball, a pitch Pettitte said he decided to try just to work on it. The first run came when Ryan Howard fought off a pretty good pitch inside.
“I threw a lot of good stuff, a lot of good pitches,” Pettitte said. “My location I thought was fairly good. The balls they hit were just balls that I just didn’t quite finish on a couple of them.”
Here’s Pettitte talking about his outing.
• Damaso Marte said he’s fine after being hit by a Ryan Howard line drive in the lower back. “He’s going to be sore,” Girardi said. “I asked if he had Bud’s signature on there. They said, just seams.”
• Joba Chamberlain threw 47 pitches in the game and another 15 or so in the bullpen. He wasn’t sure how many pitches he threw in the pen, but he said it was three batters worth. Pettitte was at 55 pitches, 36 strikes.
• Since Pettitte and Chamberlain are on the same scheduled, Girardi said there’s a good chance Pettitte’s next start will come in a minor league game so that Chamberlain can start another big league game.
• Girardi said once again that every fifth starter candidate will get at least one more outing before the Yankees start eliminating people from the competition.
• Two hits brought Brett Gardner’s spring average up to .240. Marcus Thames and Randy Winn also had hits today, just the third spring hit for each of them. “Marcus has swung the bat a little bit and run into a little bit of bad luck,” Girardi said. “You want to see everyone get into their groove because as we get going further, there are going to be less at-bats for people.”
• Give some credit to Amaury Sanit. He was easily the smallest-name Yankees pitcher in this game, but he did throw a hitless, walkless inning with two strikeouts. He hasn’t walked a batter or allowed a run through 3.2 spring innings.
• Three hits for Francisco Cervelli, who’s suddenly batting .583 this spring. That sort of number makes that goofy helmet look good on him. Jon Weber also had another hit. He’s batting .571. Cervelli and Weber have the highest batting averages in camp.
• None of the fifth starter candidates will pitch tomorrow night against the Rays. “We’re going to see some relievers,” Girardi said. Javier Vazquez will start. Chan Ho Park and Dave Robertson are among those scheduled to pitch in relief.
• Split-squad on Friday. CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera will pitch at home. Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre will pitch on the road. The Yankees still haven’t decided when Alfredo Aceves will pitch next. He might pitch in relief of Sabathia on Friday, or he might start on Saturday.
• Recently discovered that I’m allowed to post Associated Press photos on here. It’s very helpful. That’s an AP shot of Pettitte at the top and of Marte in the middle.