Andy Pettitte said his command could have been better. And he thinks his legs might have been a little stronger yesterday, when he was on a more normal routine. And he tried to convince Joe Girardi to let him pitch beyond the fifth inning.
But big picture, it’s hard to argue with five scoreless innings and a win.
“I expect to be here to do it,” Pettitte said. “You hope you would be considered one of the leaders of this staff and on this team, and I want to be able to be out there helping these guys do this. I feel like I’ve been there and been through it, so you hope you can go out there and continue to do that. That is what I came back for. When Cash and them called me, they said they thought that I could still do this and help this team win. I know what’s expected and that’s what has been so disappointing getting injured and sitting here watching.”
Pettitte didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning until the fifth, and when that inning started, he was supposed to face only two hitters. But he got through Rajai Davis and Colby Rasmus so easily that Girardi decided Pettitte would stay in through Adam Lind, if the inning went that far. On his 75th pitch, Pettitte got Brett Lawrie out, and that was the end of his outing.
“I was pretty set that that was it,” Girardi said. “That doesn’t mean he didn’t lobby to go back out there. He said, ‘I’m fine. I’m fine.’ I told him, we’re not going to hurt you in your first start. That would be silly. He gave us everything we asked for — probably a few more pitches than we wanted you to throw — and let’s leave it at that.”
Pettitte’s fastball velocity was basically the exact same as it was before the injury. He wasn’t perfectly sharp, but he was certainly sharp enough. There were runners on base — what’s new? — and Pettitte consistently left them stranded with big pitches when he needed them. In so many ways, it was vintage Pettitte.
“It was my first time playing behind him,” Ichiro Suzuki said. “Obviously I had played on the other side, but it was definitely special for me. He really fits the Yankees. Just seeing him on the mound in this stadium, he just fits. He’s just a Yankee.”
• Rafael Soriano got his 41st save, and he certainly earned it by getting out of that eighth-inning jam, then shutting down the Blue Jays in the ninth. He said he pitched both games of a doubleheader for Tampa Bay, and he will try to be available for tonight’s game as well. “I’ve got to do my routine and see after that,” he said. “Play catch and everything, and if I feel fine, I come back tonight.”
• The big out was Ichiro’s awkward, stumbling catch on a looping line drive in that eighth inning. It left the bases loaded and kept the Yankees in front. “I did catch it with the glove,” Ichiro said. “I’m glad I don’t have a big belly, because if I did, it might have hit the belly and popped out.”
• Because of the sun, Ichiro said that ball in the eighth was one of the few times when he was hoping the ball would be hit to someone else. “I definitely saw it off the bat,” he said. “I saw the whole thing, but it was one of those tough plays. I was hoping it would go to right field to be honest with you. … I really didn’t have time to think. I had to go get it, so I just went.”
• Bad outing for Dave Robertson, who had pitched well this weekend but really, really struggled today. “I didn’t really make any good pitches,” he said.
• The pitch Robertson seemed most upset about was the changeup that Adam Lind hit for an RBI single. “I left a changeup up really high,” Robertson said. “I think if I had made a pitch down and away with the changeup it would have been an out. I didn’t locate a couple of fastballs, and they turned into hits. Some of my days have been like that.”
• Girardi said he might be able to use either Clay Rapada or Boone Logan in both games today, but he didn’t sound like he was planning to use either Robertson or Soriano tonight. “I don’t think you can worry about Game 2 (during Game 1),” Girardi said. “You worry about Game 1, because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
• Nick Swisher’s played a pretty good first base since Mark Teixeira was hurt, but today he was charged with two errors on the same play. Of course, it didn’t matter in the end because Pettitte got out of the inning, but Pettitte was pretty funny providing his take on the play. “I don’t think I’m very smooth, anyway, covering bases,” Pettitte said. “I’ve seen some highlights of me and I don’t think I’m very smooth. I just knew that it was going to be kind of a crazy play. I was screaming to him, yelling ‘I’m there!’ or something. I don’t know if we would have gotten him or not, but it was a train wreck over there between me and Swish.”
• After the game, Brett Gardner went through drills in left field and Derek Jeter went through drills at shortstop. How Jeter came through those drills will determine whether he remains in the lineup tonight (right now he’s scheduled to play). Jayson Nix also took grounders at second and Casey McGehee and Alex Rodriguez took balls at the corners in preparation for tonight’s game.
• Here’s tonight’s lineup (with no Andruw jones against the lefty Romero)
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Curtis Granderson CF
Jayson Nix 2B
Casey McGehee 1B
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Chris Stewart C
RHP David Phelps
Associated Press photos