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Postgame notes: “It gives a different energy to the team”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on Jun 05, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Russell Martin doesn’t have the memories to guide him. He wasn’t in New York before last season and doesn’t have a mental image of what Andy Pettitte is supposed to be. Martin only knows this version, the guy with graying hair who turns 40 next week and laughs uncomfortably when someone mentions that his son has been Tweeting about him.

“I’m surprised more with his attitude, his passion for the game and his intensity,” Martin said. “I feel like on days that he pitches, it gives a different energy to the team. It’s remarkable.”

Tonight, Pettitte was dealing. That’s the word his son used on Twitter. Against a first-place team — now tied with Baltimore — Pettitte went 7.1 shutout innings, striking out 10 and allowing just two hits. Last time he struck out 10 was exactly two years ago in Toronto. Last time he struck out 10 in the Bronx was 2003.

“I want to be a positive impact on this team,” Pettitte said. “I felt like I could be, and that’s why I came back. I think the guys enjoy when I pitch. I think sometimes I’m an amusement for them also.”

Why an amusement?

“I’m old, I guess,” Pettitte shrugged.

He’s old, but he’s back, striking out hitters at a better pace than even in his prime. Today, Pettitte said he made a small adjustment with his two-seamer — didn’t go into specifics, but he said he figured it out in the bullpen and carried it into the game — and that helped him control both sides of the plate. His cutter acts more like a slider this days, it was as effective as ever.

“I don’t really try to strike guys out,” Pettitte said. “I feel like I’m able to keep guys off balance an awful lot right now. My command was just really good tonight. I only left a couple of balls over the heart of the zone all night long. I’ve been real happy with my command and the feel of all my pitches. I didn’t think it would come back so quick.”

When he came out of the game and disappeared into the dugout, Pettitte gave a small fist pump, a tiny gesture, especially compared to the roaring ovation from the Yankee Stadium crowd. They came to see one of the finest pitchers in franchise history, and they certainly saw him.

“You have a memory of what a guy is like,” Joe Girardi said. “You say, you know what, he took a year and a half off, I don’t think he would come back if he didn’t think he could do it. So you just say, it’s Andy.”

• I know, I know, Martin’s a terrible player who’s not Jesus Montero and everyone hates him. But he’s hitting .391 since the beginning of the previous road trip, and tonight he delivered the big blow with his fourth-inning grand slam. It’s not much, but his batting average is up to .211 for the season. “Any time you get a shutout, you feel like you’ve done what you’re supposed to do as a catcher,” Martin said. “If you can contribute, hit a home run — a grand slam — against a tough pitcher, that’s even better.”

• Last time a Yankees player hit a grand slam from the No. 9 spot in the order was Francisco Cervelli in Texas last season. He hit it off Cody Eppley.

• Three of the Yankees past four hits with the bases loaded have been grand slams.

• After being hit by a pitch in the seventh, Robinson Cano had X-rays that came back negative. Jayson Nix replaced him at second base. “He was a little sore, a little stiff, so I think he’ll be a player for us tomorrow,” Girardi said.

• Cano went 2-for-3 off James Shields and is now a career .415 hitter against him.

• Here’s what Pettitte said about the improvements to his two-seam fastball: “I’ve got a little something that Larry (Rothschild) told me in my bullpen that I thought was going to help me. You don’t know whether to trust it or not during the game but then when you threw it and start seeing results you start getting confidence in it. It worked out good tonight.”

• Asked for more specifics of what he changed about the two-seamer, Pettitte said, “Sometimes if you get a thought in your head, it helps you. Larry helped me with that a little bit.” Not sure exactly what that means, but there you have it.

• Girardi said he’s been most impressed by Pettitte’s stamina at this point. Pettitte’s pitched through the seventh inning in each of his past four starts. Tonight he faced one batter in the eighth. It was, of course, a strikeout. “I was getting tired, there’s no doubt,” Pettitte said. “I get tired for sure out there. But, if you can just stay within yourself and not try to overthrow and realize my stuff might not be quite as sharp or my velocity might not be what it was in the first few innings, keep it out of the heart of the plate and you’ve got a chance to get them out.”

• Martin on his approach on the grand slam: “When you’re down 0-2 against Shields, you’re not thinking about hitting a homer. That was the last thing that was on my mind. I just got a good pitch out over the plate, really just trying to protect, and it just found some barrel for me. Next thing you know, it was in the bleachers.”

• Pettitte turns 40 next Friday. “It’s all in your mind, right?” Pettitte said. “Raul (Ibanez) told me he felt he’s alive still. He turned 40 the other day in Detroit and he goes, ‘It ain’t that bad.’”

• Pettitte’s reaction when told that his son Josh posted “Pops is dealing” on Twitter: “Great. Ok. Yeah. That’s good. Get rid of that.” Sorry, Josh.

Associated Press photos

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73 Responses to “Postgame notes: “It gives a different energy to the team””

  1. Bret The Hitman June 5th, 2012 at 11:54 pm

    Russell Martin seems to be heating up. Maybe he can become the centerpiece of this offense for years to come…

    Russell Martin, catcher, New York Yankees – .728 OPS

    Jesus Montero, designated hitter, Seattle Mariners – .712 OPS

    Russell is obviously destined for the HOF

  2. tucker June 5th, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    Sounds like the DBacks owner is putting the team on notice. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the team move Justin Upton. He would fit beautifully in the Yanks lineup:

    http://www.azcentral.com/iphone/#_article

    “Upton finished fourth in National League MVP voting last season but has yet to get going offensively this year. Upton has a .243 average and five home runs and just 20 RBIs.

    “I think Justin is an enigma at this point,” Kendrick said. “I know he had an injury (thumb) early on and may be a little bit of a nagging injury. But he’s played. He’s certainly not the Justin Upton that he has been in the past and that we would expect of him. He’s 24 years old and it’s time for him to be a consistent performer and right now this year he’s not been that.”

  3. GreenBeret7 June 5th, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    How baseball history may have changed 17 years ago.

    http://bombersbeat.mlblogs.com…..-happened/

  4. Against All Odds June 5th, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    How much would he cost?

  5. Against All Odds June 6th, 2012 at 12:10 am

    GN everyone

  6. tucker June 6th, 2012 at 12:22 am

    That is the question. Though, if the Yanks could put together a package, it might be worth it to include the likes of Banuelos, Mason Williams and Banuelos.

    J-Upton (unlike his brother) is a special bat, the kind of bat that would allow the team to offset the declining production of A-Rod and Tex. It would also allow the team to let Swisher walk.

  7. tucker June 6th, 2012 at 12:24 am

    Edit: Nunez, Banuelos and Mason Williams.

  8. Pat M. June 6th, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Towers clearly knows the Yanks farmhands firsthand………I would rather move Betances as opposed to Manny B……..I really think Cashman views Manny B much like he did Phil Hughes……He ain’t movin !!!

  9. m June 6th, 2012 at 12:30 am

    I’m surprised at that Upton comment by the D-backs owner. I wouldn’t publically call out a franchise player like that.

    Maybe it has the desired effect in the short run, but who knows what the long-term ramifications are?

  10. Rich in NJ June 6th, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Upton for Montero would have made a lot of sense.

  11. Rich in NJ June 6th, 2012 at 12:36 am

    In a package, btw.

  12. Rich in NJ June 6th, 2012 at 12:41 am

    “Russell is obviously destined for the HOF”

    Or trade bait if he hits too much.

  13. Nick in SF June 6th, 2012 at 12:42 am

    Perhaps not as much to the Diamondbacks, however.

  14. UnKnown June 6th, 2012 at 12:43 am

    Glad Cano is alright after getting hit. Having a significant injury dealt to him would be about the only thing that could’ve turned tonight’s game into a negative.

    Game balls to Russ and Andy P.

  15. Rich in NJ June 6th, 2012 at 12:46 am

    “Perhaps not as much to the Diamondbacks, however.”

    Towers is to savvy…

  16. tucker June 6th, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Towers was high on Betances two years ago, but I can’t imagine he feels the same way about him today. Betances has great tools, but he has not shown consistency.

    D-Backs would want a haul for their franchise player …

  17. theREALkevin June 6th, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Apparently the D-Backs are not happy with Justin Upton. Maybe this is just a motivating tactic, but if they don’t want him anymore, I’d be happy for the Yankees to take him off their hands.

  18. Rich in NJ June 6th, 2012 at 12:59 am

    I would think that they would want a high ceiling, ML ready/cost-controlled position player in any package.

  19. tucker June 6th, 2012 at 1:16 am

    Keep in mind that DBacks’ owner Kendrick’s comments come just a week after the team extended Miguel Montero. Upton Has a 6-year $51 million deal through 2015. Montero trumped his with a 5-year $60 million deal.

    Upton’s contract is very attractive, even for the budget-conscious Yanks. Not sure they have the pieces to pull off a deal, though, if Upton is made available.

  20. GreenBeret7 June 6th, 2012 at 1:28 am

    First 16 Yankee picks

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....um=twitter

  21. stanzy June 6th, 2012 at 1:30 am

    How could “the last time” he struck out 10 be “exactly 10 years ago” (2002) but the last time he struck out 10 in the Bronx be 2003 (9 years ago)? It is still 2012, right. Or did I sleep past my alarm again?

  22. Chad Jennings June 6th, 2012 at 1:45 am

    Oops. Last time was two years ago in 2010.

  23. stanzy June 6th, 2012 at 4:23 am

    Ah, thanks Chad. I was very tired when I read that and thought I might be missing something.

  24. justsaying June 6th, 2012 at 6:44 am

    MG –

    “Pat M, Whitey used to drop down and throw almost side arm curveballs to Gentile and other lefthanded batters, they would be in the dugout by the time the pitch crossed home plate.”

    MG, if you’re around today, another guy Ford was murder on was the Orioles slugger, Boog Powell. He was 5 for 32 lifetime against Whitey with 11 strikeouts – once every three at bats!

    Powell called Ford the best pitcher he ever faced. Most of the time he’d look helpless against Ford. Orioles in the dugout would actually laugh at him after another hopeless at bat. I think Norm cash was still another power hitter who looked foolish against Ford. You’re absolutely right, he’d drop down and come in sidearm against those LH.

  25. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Andy is amazing……I thought he could pitch well when he came back but I thought itd be more of a quality start type battle…….a lot of 6 innings and 3 or 4 runs…..he looks better than ever…..I think Benny Blanco said it yesterday but he looks kinda like Cliff Lee (exceot winning games)……just the way hes locating and staying ahead….cutting, sinking, using his breaking ball etc……its a masters course in pitching to watch him throw.

    I hope Martin makes us all eat crow……thatd be best for the team…..but we’ll see..

    Cashman has to check in on both Justin Upton and Castro……both their teams have called them out this week and both are the type talents the Yanks need going forward……

  26. Tar June 6th, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Morning Blake

    Andy is most definitely amazing. I was hoping for the best with him, and his performance has exceeded that.

    As for Martin, Ive been saying he’s been taking much better swings for at least a couple of weeks now, so you can have my portion of the crow. :D

  27. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Good morning Blake.

    Actaullay I was kinda surprised when AP hung ‘em up as he had said that he wanted to “empty the tank” prior to his retirement.

    It was obvious even that that he stillhad something left.

    Even more obvious watching him now.

    Glad he got to spend some time with his Family but even more gald he
    is taking the mound for us every 5 days.

    The guy is inspirational to all around him.

    Hope Nova got the memo.

    Time for him to get back on the beam tonight.

  28. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 7:19 am

    sp: actually. Sheesh. I need another cup of java.

  29. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Man I just butchered the spelling in that post.

    Caught a case of the GB’s.

    :(

  30. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Tar,

    Martin’s swing isnt terrible…..it gets a little long sometimes but he has a better swing and more bat speed than a guy that shoukd hit .200. When he stays on the ball and uses the whole field and doesn’t swing out of his shoes every pitch thrn hes a lot better.

  31. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Morning MTU…..I never thought Andy would come back……sure glad he did.

  32. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:29 am

    If Andy stays healthy the Yanks dont need pitching…..they need to be looking for a long term type bat to help this year and the future…….call Towers every day..

  33. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Cliff Lee must be glad he signed with Philly….

  34. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 7:36 am

    Blake-

    I know the owner called Upton out but I still don’t think he is available.

    Even if he was I would expect the price to be over the top.

    Towers KNOWS our farm system.

    Would you be willing to give up banuelos, Sanchez, Williams and more for him ?

  35. MG June 6th, 2012 at 7:38 am

    justsaying June 6th, 2012 at 6:44 am
    MG –

    “Pat M, Whitey used to drop down and throw almost side arm curveballs to Gentile and other lefthanded batters, they would be in the dugout by the time the pitch crossed home plate.”

    MG, if you’re around today, another guy Ford was murder on was the Orioles slugger, Boog Powell. He was 5 for 32 lifetime against Whitey with 11 strikeouts – once every three at bats!

    Powell called Ford the best pitcher he ever faced. Most of the time he’d look helpless against Ford. Orioles in the dugout would actually laugh at him after another hopeless at bat. I think Norm cash was still another power hitter who looked foolish against Ford. You’re absolutely right, he’d drop down and come in sidearm against those LH.
    ——————————-
    I just looked up Gentile’s stats against Whitey, they are pretty amazing:
    AB: 52
    Hits: 6
    HR: 2
    RBI: 5
    BB: 7
    K: 23
    BA: .115
    SLG: .231
    OPS: .447

    And this from a guy who was a 3x All Star and had a career OPS of .854

    Whitey sure owned him…

  36. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:43 am

    “Would you be willing to give up banuelos, Sanchez, Williams and more for him ?”

    not that much…..but close.

  37. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Ian kennedy Struck out 12 Rockies last night.

    Not bad for a guy who can’t pitch.

    ;)

  38. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:44 am

    But yea….dont think hes available either now. Theyd be selling low and thats never good to do

  39. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 7:45 am

    Blake-

    Well that’s the sort of thing it would take.

    Those 3 and more.

  40. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:49 am

    So is this just a bad stretch for Lincecum or is he shot?

  41. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Kendrick “Disappointed” In Stephen Drew

    By Zach Links [June 5 at 9:59pm CST]

    Diamondbacks Managing Partner Ken Kendrick says that he’s disappointed with Stephen Drew and his slow return to the field from injury in an interview today with Brad Cesmat of XTRA Sports 910 (via Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic on Twitter). Kendrick believes that the shortstop is overly focused on protecting his future value rather than his maximizing his current production.

    “I think Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen’s going to be a year from now than going out and supporting the team that’s paying his salary,” Kendrick said, before adding that Drew hasn’t been direct when presented with these concerns by the club.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com

    Kendrick calling everyone out….

  42. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Blake-

    Sounds like this Kendrick guy might be a loose canon.

    This kind of dressing down should not be done in public IMO.

    Always behind closed doors.

  43. blake June 6th, 2012 at 7:56 am

    MTU,

    I agree…..Drew may be a free agent this winter.

  44. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 7:58 am

    Blake-

    Maybe some of the players should return the favor and air out some of Kendrick’s dirty laundry in public.

    Bad form.

    No class.

  45. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 8:07 am

    I always thought our SP would be in the top handful in the AL.

    Did not start out that way but our SP is rounding into form now.

    Once Nova finds his groove we’ll be there.

    CC, Kuroda, and AP all have ERA’s around 3.5.

    Except for the 1 clunker game before last Hughes has been doing very well in the half-dozen or so starts prior.

    Time for Ivan the Great to show up tonight.

    :)

  46. upstate kate June 6th, 2012 at 8:17 am

    good morning

    Great game by Andy. Who knows, maybe the year off was a good thing for him.

    I loved seeing that GS from Russell.

    While I am looking forward to GGBG returning, Rauuul has been better than I expected

  47. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Good to see you Kate.

    Hope all is well in the Northland.

  48. jmills June 6th, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Good morning down there ! Loud sqauwking Jay in the back that the cat can’t catch :) 200 ft yard and I can’t find anyone to throw a ball around here . Have a productive one ; Pettitte, a nice story. J

  49. LGY June 6th, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I hope Girardi stays cognizant of the fact that Andy, despite looking terrific thus far, is 40 years old. He is averaging 104 pitches per start.

    They need this man healthy and well rested for the playoffs. Arguably, both CC and Colon last year were burnt out by the time the real season started.

  50. upstate kate June 6th, 2012 at 8:46 am

    MTU
    I am very happy to have the Yankees back at home. Those WC games are on way too late for me.

  51. kevsmart June 6th, 2012 at 8:51 am

    People hate Russell Martin?

    I bet those same people hate free cookies too.

  52. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Kate-

    I hear ya’.

    SuperNova tonight.

    :)

  53. MTU June 6th, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Time to walk the Mops.

    Later.

  54. Benny Blanco June 6th, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Blake,

    Thanks for the shout out this morning! LOL

    AP is 3-2 in 5 starts and Cliffy Lee is 0-3 in 9 starts. They both have the same whip @1.01 however Andy’s era is better and he’s pitching in a much tougher division.

  55. upstate kate June 6th, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Andy just had a year off and got a late start to the season…he will be fine :)
    Seriously, he will probably get more rest when the BP is back to full strength.
    I kinda forgot we still had Freddie, it was good to see him.

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