Derek Jeter has a sore left calf, but it still took more than five minutes for any one of more than a dozen reporters to actually ask about it this morning. We all had Andy Pettitte on our minds.
“He retired mainly because he wanted to spend time with his family,” Jeter said before starting to crack a smile. “But maybe Momma got a little tired of him a little bit, told him to come back out here and pitch.”
Jeter said Pettitte never talked about coming back last season. It wasn’t until this winter that the topic started popping up in their conversations.
“Sometimes when people make decisions like that, you’re there to listen,” Jeter siad. “You give them your thoughts about it, but I would never try to steer someone in one direction or the other. You give him your opinion, you want what’s best for him, but I would never try to pressure him one way or the other.”
Happy to have him back?
“Andy’s done a lot for the organization,” Jeter said. “All the guys love him. He’ll add to our team, on the field, off the field. … Andy’s just a good guy. He’s a good person. I haven’t heard too many people say bad things about Andy Pettitte.”
• When someone finally got around to asking Jeter about his calf, the answer was exactly what you might expect from the Captain. “Thanks for asking after all this time,” Jeter said, giving us all a hard time. “I’m doing good.”
• Similar positive news from Nick Swisher who said his MRI came back clean. “Nothing,” he said. “Just as we expected.”
• Swisher, by the way, couldn’t believe Pettitte didn’t give him a heads up about the comeback. “I played golf with him like two or three weeks ago,” Swisher said. “We were kind of talking and I was like, ‘Man, you look like you’re in great shape. He was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve been working out a little bit.’ Now I know exactly what he was doing.”
• Nunez had a set of those electronic muscle stimulators attached to his hand and wrist today, clearly giving some more treatment to the bruised area. He’s supposed to take batting practice today, and right now he’s scheduled to make the road trip tomorrow, which suggests the Yankees expect him to play this weekend.
• Didn’t see Russell Martin until just as everyone was walking out of the clubhouse, so I have no injury update on him. However, he’s listed as making the trip tomorrow. Seems to be a positive sign that his groin/hamstring issue is better.
• Ramiro Pena was not walking with any sort of limp when he came into the clubhouse this morning. He said his sprained right ankle is feeling better. I wouldn’t expect him to play in the next two days, though.
• The clubhouse was a much more empty place this morning. One entire row of four lockers was cleared out — Stoneburner, Pope, Marshall and Burawa — and another group of eight lockers was down to just three active players. A 14-player cut makes the room feel significantly different.
• Pat Venditte, Mitch Abieta, Walter Ibarra and Abe Almonte are up from the minor league complex to serve as extra players today. Obviously I’m hoping Venditte gets in the game.
• One last locker room observation: Hiroki Kuroda has Pettitte’s old locker, and word is that Pettitte is going to be assigned a new one, probably near the front corner where Bernie Williams used to be.
Associated Press photos