After 20 pitches of batting practice, Andy Pettitte took a short break. He walked to the dugout just like he would between innings, and Nick Swisher followed him there. Swisher had been the last batter in the box, and Swisher was raving about Pettitte’s changeup. He said the movement was late and biting, and the deception was good. It was hard to pickup the spin on Pettitte’s cutter, Swisher said, and both the two-seamer and four-seamer looked sharp.
“Those are all important things that I need,” Pettitte said later. “I need the ball to move late, and hitters so far are telling me that it’s doing that.”
Pettitte went back to the mound for a second “inning,” this time with the L-screen removed. Pettitte said he was seeing the ball off the bat much better, so he felt comfortable without the screen, and he threw his last 15 pitches out of the stretch.
“Didn’t feel quite as comfortable out of the stretch as I did out of the windup, but I need some work out of the stretch,” Pettitte said. “I was trying to put in some slide steps and stuff like that. That’s a lot of bullpen work, just he timing and stuff like that. And it also is a lot of game work from the standpoint of getting the base runners over there and varying your speeds to home and stuff like that. It was a good day, a positive day. Another step in the right direction.”
Pettitte said it’s not important to him that he gets in a game this spring, but he is anxious to get in a game somewhere. He just wants to face hitters who aren’t on his team, and that should be a test. Joe Girardi still thinks it’s possible Pettitte will get in one of those last two games against the Mets before the Yankees break camp.
“I’m trying to get (my legs) to where I can drive and explode 100 pitches and I’m a long way from there,” Pettitte said. “I want to be strong. You want to be strong when you land. The last three or four pitches I threw, if you just land not quite as strong on that front side, the ball might be off this much and that’s a ball or a strike. That’s all part of the process. I’m getting there, and I’m feeling good, and so far so good.”
• Nick Swisher seemed to get through batting practice just fine. He was jogging afterward. Girardi said the plan is for Swisher to play minor league games Wednesday and Thursday before getting in a big league game on Friday. In minor league games, Swisher can hit without having to run the bases. Girardi has no significant concerns about Swisher being ready for Opening Day. “My sense is that he’ll be ready,” Girardi said.
• Alex Rodriguez’s ribs are fine after being hit by a pitch on Sunday. Girardi said he didn’t think Rodriguez even needed any treatment yesterday. He’s in the lineup today and it’s a non-issue.
• CC Sabathia is scheduled for 85-100 pitches tonight.
• Sabahtia is clearly lined up for Opening Day against the Rays. Girardi confirmed that Hiroki Kuroda is on schedule to pitch the second game of the season, and that’s according to plan.
• Today’s sides: David Phelps, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia and Rafael Soriano.
• Michael Pineda and Phil Hughes are scheduled to throw sides tomorrow.
• Today’s available pitchers: CC Sabathia, Dave Robertson, Cesar Cabral, Clay Rapada, George Kontos, Preston Claiborne, Mark Montgomery, Sean Black and Ryan Pope.
• Today’s second string: C Gustavo Molina, 1B Jorge Vazquez, 2B Bill Hall, SS Eduardo Nunez, 3B Jayson Nix, LF Justin Maxwell, CF Dewayne Wise, RF Chris Dickerson
• Up from minor league camp off the bench: INF Addison Maruszak, OF Abe Almonte and C Jeff Farnham
• Tomorrow’s traveling players to Orlando
Pitchers: Cesar Cabral, George Kontos, Hiroki Kuroda, Cory Wade, Adam Warren
Catchers: Francisco Cervelli, Russell Martin, Gustavo Molina
Infielders: Doug Bernier, Robinson Cano, Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, Mark Teixeira, Jorge Vazquez
Outfielders: Chris Dickerson, Justin Maxwell, Dewayne Wise
Minor leaguers: INF Addison Maruszak, INF Walter Ibarra, OF Abe Almonte, OF Dan Brewer, P Pat Venditte, P Juan Cedneo, P Cory Arbiso, P Ryan Flannery
Cell phone picture of Girardi watching Pettitte warm up, AP photo of Swisher