Andy Pettitte is ready to be a major league starter again, and with that, the Yankees have a five-man rotation. As long as Pettitte comes through Thursday’s side session with no problems, he’ll start Sunday’s series finale in Baltimore.
“I want to see him go out there,” Joe Girardi said. “And I want to see how he feels after his side. Right now all indications are that he feels good, which is really important. It would be frustrating if he didn’t, for him and for all of us, but I want to see him go out there Sunday and see how sharp he is.”
CC Sabathia will pitch on regular rest Saturday — tomorrow’s off day will not give him an extra day — and that’s a decision, Girardi said, is at least partially based on next week’s four-game series at home against the Rays. Using Sabathia on Saturday instead of Sunday means he’ll pitch the last game of that Rays series, once again matching up against David Price, who is also staying on regular rest for Tampa Bay.
Girardi said the Yankees haven’t mapped out the rotation beyond Sunday, but he plans to stick with Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova. That means Javier Vazquez and Dustin Moseley will be moved back to the bullpen.
As for lining up his starters for a playoff rotation: “I won’t do that until we know exactly that we’re in the playoffs,” Girardi said.
• Nick Swisher is probably not available to pinch hit tonight — “I don’t think so,” Girardi said — but he does feel significantly better after yesterday’s cortisone shot. “I can’t give you a time table because I don’t know,” he said. “This is all on a pain basis. Once that gets out of there, once we get that last bit of inflammation that’s in there, just get everything intact. I’d rather be playing at 100 percent than 50.”
• Brett Gardner was told to take another day off. The Yankees are thinking he could be back to 100 percent after taking yesterday, today and tomorrow off. “I think I could swing,” Gardner said. “It feels a lot better today. I feel good about how it feels and expect to be playing on Friday.”
• Brian Cashman has confirmed that the Yankees could put Royce Ring on the playoff roster if they wanted to. That’s because of the loophole that lets him replace an injured pitcher, in this case Damaso Marte. It’s the same way the Yankees got Freddy Guzman on last year’s playoff roster, essentially for Xavier Nady.
• Speaking of Ring, he was home in San Diego taking his baby to a six-month checkup when he got the call. He got on a 6:20 flight, slept on the plane, and arrived at the ballpark at about 4 p.m.
• Right now the Yankees rotation has back-to-back lefties. “You do like to split them up when you can,” Girardi said. “But right now I’m not worried about that.”
• Girardi on Phil Hughes facing the Rays: “Command is important and changing speeds is important against this club. If you stick with strictly fastballs, this club will hurt you.”
• Pretty good line from Swisher about Jorge Posada’s monster home run last night, which landed on the roof of a restaurant in center field: “You don’t see many dudes going on top of that. I would have liked to have seen if that would have hit our restaurant. You’ve got to be a grown man to go up there, boys.”
Associated Press photos of Pettitte and Posada