In the spring of 2010, Andy Pettitte kept running into the worst weather. Start after start, Pettitte’s turn in the rotation came with a rain storm, and Pettitte did the bulk of his spring preparation in a series of simulated game and batting practice sessions. His official spring workload was just 8.1 innings with a 1.68 WHIP through two Grapefruit League starts.
When the regular season began, Pettitte promptly went 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA in the month of April.
It’s that bizarre beginning to his most recent Major League season that leaves Pettitte confident he still has enough time to get ready for a late-season push and a playoff run. This afternoon, he’ll throw essentially a flat-ground bullpen, pushing off as if he were on a mound, though with less intensity. If that goes well, he hopes to progress to a full mound, and after a few bullpens, he’ll need to face some hitters. But the minor league season is quickly coming to an end.
“I think some of it may have to be involved with throwing to hitters here,” Pettitte said. “Whatever it is, I feel like it will be good for me. I’m not trying to take the importance away from (minor league rehab starts), but I just feel like I know what I have to do to get ready. So I haven’t looked that far yet. Whatever we have to do, whether it’s throw to our guys in a simulated game, that will be sufficient enough for me. I believe that.”
As Joe Girardi pointed out, the Yankees roster will have expanded by then, and they should have some extra hitters sitting around looking for something to do. Might as well face Pettitte for a few at-bats.
For now, Pettitte is just trying to get to the point that hitters are necessary. He said he hasn’t felt any sort of discomfort for a few days now, and the most recent X-ray was extremely encouraging. Yesterday, Pettitte said he wouldn’t rule out playing one more season, but he’d like to finish this season first.
“It’s so different once you get on a mound,” Pettitte said. “I mean, the force that I’ll put on my back leg when I drive off the mound, I can’t duplicate that until you get on the mound. But I feel like I’m getting some good work, especially to try and protect it a little bit, to spread out and go through my pitches spread out. I feel like that’s been working good for me as far as building some arm strength throwing pitches. So I’ll continue to do that as I continue to throw. I’ve been doing that. But I don’t want to push too, too hard. You’re still pushing to a certain degree with your back foot and stuff like that, and I’ve been trying to protect it. I don’t want to have a setback.”
Just a quick reminder that I’m hosting a chat today at noon. Stop by if you can.
Associated Press photo