Andy Pettitte is having a problem with back spasms. The 40-year-old lefty first felt it in the mid-back area in the third inning of his start in Cleveland Tuesday and fought through it, allowing a run over seven innings in the 14-1 win. He was OK after laser treatment Wednesday and during his bullpen session Thursday. But the Yankees sent him home ahead of the team and he felt his lower back lock up at home Thursday night.
So they have pushed his Sunday start back. Now they’re hoping he can go Tuesday or Wednesday. Pettitte said he would have gone out and fought through it again, but the Yankees are taking the long view.
“I’m almost 100 percent we believe it’s a muscle spasm,” Pettitte said. “So hopefully it just calms down and I don’t have any more problems with it.”
So Phil Hughes, instead of pitching out of the bullpen after his start got rained out in Cleveland Thursday night, will take the ball Saturday and Hiroki Kuroda will be pushed back a day, starting now on Sunday.
Joe Girardi said he wasn’t expecting a full complement of starts out of Pettitte this season, not at this age. Pettitte hasn’t made it through a full season since 2009, when he made 32 starts, although he was retired for 2011.
“I think it’s pretty tough to get 32 starts out of a young guy in a sense, a guy who hasn’t logged as many innings as he has,” Girardi said. “Our hope is you get somewhere between 28 and 30 starts. … I don’t think we expect him to make 32 starts.”
Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco got eight games and a fine for intentionally hitting Kevin Youkilis in Tuesday’s game. Girardi said he wasn’t surprised.
Youkilis’ reaction? “I’m indifferent,” he said.
We should be able to get this game in, but it’s really cold and very windy.