Andy Pettitte did his very best to sound positive this afternoon, but it was hard not to feel bad for him as he came hobbling into the clubhouse with a boot around his foot and a crutches under his arms.
“You want to help this club,” he said. “But, man, we’ve got a lot to be positive about. We’re playing well, everybody’s throwing the ball well, and we’ve got guys that are going to step up and do a great job. I’ll be back. Time flies quick. I’ll be back before you know it. I know C’s going to be down for a couple of starts, so we’ve just got to weather the storm. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for you with injuries and stuff like that. We’ve got a lot of good stuff going on here. We’ve got plenty of guys who can step in and do the job so it’s time to put my pom-poms on and be a cheerleader now for six weeks or so.”
Make no mistake, this was a very bad day for the Yankees, but it was also a day when they rallied for a one-run win, completed a three-game series sweep and extended their winning streak to five games. Freddy Garcia seems to have figured out some things, and Robinson Cano is impossibly hot right now, and Dave Robertson looked like his old self. Even Rafael Soriano — struggling while pitching for the fourth time in five days — found a way to get the big out he needed for his 17th save.
“It’s a good test,” Alex Rodriguez said. “We’ve been tested a little bit more than we’d like to be tested around here. Mo went down, and guys have stepped up. Gardner went down, other guys stepped up. We’ll have to do the same. It’s a long season. When you come out of spring training and break camp, you don’t expect to have 25 guys healthy the whole year. Today is another challenge, and I think we’ll do fine.”
• Robinson Cano went 3-for-4 with the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning. He’s homered in seven of his past 10 games, and in 14 of his past 32 games. This month he’s hitting .345 with 20 runs, three doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 18 RBI. According to Elias, this marks his most homers for any calendar month in his career.
• Garcia has been terrific since moving to the bullpen, and although the Yankees wanted to save him to start on Friday, they needed him today and Garcia delivered. He retired all seven batters he faced for his second win. “It’s too bad,” Garcia said. “We lost CC and Andy today. I don’t want to get back in the rotation that way, but that’s how it happened. It’s part of the game and stuff happens. I’ll always be ready for whatever role they want me to do, so that’s what I’ve been doing. I was in the bullpen and I did my job, trying to help the team and trying to help the bullpen.”
• Girardi said Soriano’s struggles might have been because he pitched four of the past five days. “He might be a little fatigued, a day game after a night game,” Girardi said. “There’s a good chance I’ll give him tomorrow off. I’ll see how he feels, but that could have been it. It looked like he was just missing today.”
• Clay Rapada allowed a single to Jason Kipnis, snapping a streak of 19 consecutive left-handed hitters retired. Lefties are hitting .148 with two extra-base hits against him this season.
• Russell Martin said his sore back was fine after his collision at the plate. “It’s good,” Martin said. “Kinda just rolled with that one. When they’re bang-bang and you don’t have time to react, that’s when they’re dangerous. There, I had time to set my feet and take the hit.”
• When reporters got into the clubhouse, not all of the players had heard the severity of Pettitte’s injury. Martin in particular was caught completely off guard. Rodriguez said he thought it might be pretty significant as soon as he saw Pettitte struggling with those warm-up pitches. “It looked pretty bad,” Rodriguez said. “I told Cano when he was warming up, there’s a pretty good chance we won’t see him until after the All-Star break, and maybe it’s a little worse than that.”
• Girardi said he found out around the sixth inning that Pettitte had a fracture. He thought Steve Donohue was kidding. “In my mind I’m saying, is he telling me a fib or what is he doing?” Girardi said. “I never imaged that’s what it was.”
• Pettitte on what he was thinking during those three warm-up pitches after the ball hit his ankle: “I just figured I would figure out a way to get through the inning. Even though I knew I couldn’t push off like I wanted to, I just figured I would go the other direction with it. Throw it slower than slow, maybe get them to hit some grounders. But that first pitch I threw, I pushed off, and just a lot of pain shooting right into my foot. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to throw another pitch.”
• Pettitte has struck out at least six batters in each of his past five starts, tying the longest such streak of his career.
• Brian Cashman said the Yankees didn’t consider giving Friday’s start to veteran Ramon Ortiz, who’s been pitching really well for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “Not ahead of Warren,” Cashman said. “Warren has been better.” Adam Warren has a 2.03 ERA with 18 strikeouts in his past five starts.
• Speaking of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre rotation: Dellin Betances has been demoted to Double-A Trenton. I heard from a scout just yesterday that Betances’ fastball is down to 90-92 mph with no control. This scout was not impressed at all. Said Betances looks awful, which the numbers certainly suggest. He had a 6.39 ERA with nearly as many walks (69) as strikeouts (71).
• Fast-rising reliever Preston Claiborne was called up from Trenton to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The 2010 draft pick hasn’t allowed a run in 18 innings this month.
• The last word, obviously, goes to Pettitte: “I think that we’re in a real good place with the other guys. There’s no need to try to do anything more. They’re throwing the ball great. They’ve just got to keep the same approach that they are, and they’re going to. I think we’re going to be fine. Freddy’s throwing the ball well. I know he’s probably going to be the one to step into the rotation now, and we’ll get someone called up. I don’t know whether it’s Phelpsy, if he comes back or what. This team is good. We’re good, and we’re playing with a lot of confidence, and I think they’re going to be just fine as long as guys don’t put a lot of pressure on themselves.”
Associated Press photo