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Notes from the complex: Pettitte, Rivera, Hughes and more

Posted By Chad Jennings On March 18, 2013 @ 5:03 pm In Misc | 45 Comments

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It really wasn’t a fair matchup this afternoon.

Sent to the minor league complex for the day, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera faced group of High-A and Low-A hitters from the Blue Jays system.

“I’m sure these guys pulled up and were like, what in the world is going on here?” Pettitte said. “Definitely having to face Mo over there, for sure.”

Rivera was in the Low-A game and threw two innings, a total of 31 pitches. He struck out four, got two groundball outs and pitched around an error by young shortstop Austin Aune. Why two innings?

“I wanted to stretch it out a little bit,” Rivera said. “I was here, so why not? It’s a beautiful day.”

Pettitte went 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, no walks and seven strikeouts. I wasn’t keeping track of every pitch, but Pettitte said he threw roughly 80 pitches and will get up to 90-95 next time out.

“In this atmosphere it’s just, get through it and get through it healthy,” Pettitte said. “It was good. I was able to get good work in. To be able to go out there for six pitches is good, to throw the warm-up pitches and all that. That’s just, really, the biggest process.”

[3]• Phil Hughes threw basically two innings of a simulated game. He’s on track to next appear in an actual minor league game, probably on Saturday. The Yankees are clearly keeping him lined up to potentially start on April 7 — the first time the Yankees need a fifth starter — but Larry Rothschild said the team isn’t going to force it. If Hughes isn’t quite ready for that start, he’ll skip it and make his debut five games later. “If he misses a start, he misses a start,” Rothschild said. “The biggest thing is that he’s ready both health-wise and arm strength, stamina and pitch-ability with all his pitches. That’s what’s going to determine that.”

• Hughes was hit in the back by a comebacker, but he laughed it off. Rothschild also dismissed it. “It’s a good lesson,” Rothschild said. “When you go inside, you better get it there. He kind of got spanked because he didn’t. Thank God it didn’t have much impact on him.”

• Cody Eppley also threw a simulated inning. … Bobby Wilson caught Rivera, hit a home run and stuck around to keep getting at-bats long after Rivera left. … Francisco Cervelli caught Pettitte and hit the ball hard all afternoon. His first two at-bats were a double and an RBI single.

• David Adams’ back is getting better. He took at-bats against Hughes in today’s sim game, and Mark Newman said Adams “should” be playing in games this week. He’s still expected to open the season as the Triple-A third baseman.

• I was told today that it’s looking more and more likely that Tyler Austin will open the season in Double-A. He was hit by a pitch in the hand recently, but X-rays were negative, so that doesn’t seem to be much of an issue. He’s still with the Double-A work group and Newman said there’s a good chance Trenton opens with Ramon Flores, Slade Heathcott and Austin in the outfield. That’s an impressive group.

• Dante Bichette Jr., Cito Culver and Angelo Gumbs are all going to open the reason back in Low-A Charleston. There’s a chance Greg Bird will be there with them to create an interesting infield combination.

• Last year’s first-round pick, Ty Hensley, pulled an abdominal muscle and will be out for a couple of weeks. Doesn’t sound serious.

• Ravel Santana isn’t playing right now because of stiffness in his ankle. It’s thes same ankle that he hurt in 2011.

• Minor league work group assignments of guys who have been sent out of big league camp: Dellin Betances (AAA), Matt Daley (AAA), Brett Marshall (AAA), Kelvin Perez (AAA), Ryan Pope (AAA), Chase Whitley (AAA), Austin Romine (AAA), Francisco Arcia (AAA), David Adams (AAA), Luke Murton (AAA), Zoilo Almonte (AAA), Tom Kahnle (AA), Zach Nuding (AA), Mike O’Brien (AA), Jose Ramirez (AA), Nik Turley (AA), Kyle Higashioka (AA), J.R. Murphy (AA), Kyle Roller (AA), Rob Segedin (AA), Tyler Austin (AA), Ramon Flores (AA), Corey Black (HA), Nick Goody (HA), Shane Greene (HA), Bryan Mitchell (HA), Gary Sanchez (HA), Cito Culver (LA), Greg Bird (LA).

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