Andy Pettitte threw roughly 15 pitches last time. Today he threw closer to 45, and he’ll probably get up to 60 when he pitches another simulated game in Boston next week. Even Joe Girardi, who’s notorious for his take-things-slowly approach, said it’s not out of the question that Pettitte could be ready for a big league start after this upcoming sim game.
“Nothing is out of the question at this point,” Girardi said.
The Yankees are taking an unusually aggressive approach to Pettitte’s recovery, and based strictly on the simulated results, it might be working. Pettitte threw three “innings” today.
“I feel like my stuff is pretty close to where I want it to be,” Pettitte said. “Larry (Rothschild) and (Mike Harkey), who obviously see me throw all the time, said I’m really good. The hitters told me I was really good. That’s a good sign, for sure. … I’ll pitch whenever they tell me I’m ready. I want to pitch. I’m not going to be stupid, but I didn’t think I was going to come back and be as sharp as I am. I thought it would take a lot of bullpens and some game work, but since my command’s been so good, I think everyone’s been comfortable running me back out there with these simulated games as quick as we can.”
The next test comes on Monday when Pettitte will be reevaluated during another visit to the doctor. The Yankees are expecting Pettitte to be cleared for full activities — including running — which means he can get his legs a little stronger and start making plays off the mound. As far as being on the mound, Pettitte feels like these handful of simulated games will be enough to get him big league ready.
“I really feel like, even this work like this, I feel like I can make it really close to game,” Pettitte said. “I know I may not have the pitch limit — or whatever I’m going to be at — but mentally I know none of that’s going to bother me. I’m going to go out and pitch my game, and whenever they let me go, I’ll give them the hardest pitches I can for as many as that is. That’s what kind of mode I’ll be in, I won’t even think about that I have a certain number of pitches or try to change a game plan or something like that. It’s just not going to happen. I’ll attack the hitters just like I’ve always tried to and obviously it’s just a matter of, hopefully you’re effective that day and can get your stuff going just like any other start.”
• Ivan Nova will be available out of the bullpen tonight and tomorrow. Freddy Garcia is going to make his scheduled start tomorrow afternoon. Girardi did not dismiss the possibility of Nova starting in place of David Phelps next time through the rotation, but he said the team hasn’t made any final decisions that far ahead.
• Nova was just happy to be active. “I just want to pitch,” he said. “If they think I’m going to be good in the bullpen for a couple of days, I go to the bullpen. If they think I’m going to start tomorrow, I’m going to start tomorrow. I’ll do whatever he asks me to do. I just want to be pitching.”
• Alex Rodriguez gets a DH start tonight, Derek Jeter will DH tomorrow.
• Girardi said he expects to start Jayson Nix at shortstop tomorrow, not Eduardo Nunez. Girardi didn’t mention this, but it’s probably worth noting that Nunez hit .232/.258/.304 for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre during the month of August.
• No real concerns about playing Mark Teixeira on a wet night. “Usually the infield is the driest part of the field,” Girardi said. “If he was an outfielder, I’d be more concerned.”
• Ichiro Suzuki gets the start in center field because he’s faced Orioles starter Joe Saunders quite a bit. Ichiro is a career .333/.366/.410 hitter against Saunders.
• Boone Logan and Dave Robertson are probably not available tonight.
Associated Press photos