Andy Pettitte doesn’t know when exactly he’ll throw his next bullpen. He doesn’t know when he’ll finally face hitters, and he’s not sure how well his arm will bounce back from today’s bullpen session. Taking an absolute guess, Pettitte said he could be back in two weeks at the earliest.
“That would be real quick,” he said.
Joe Girardi thought that guess was a good one.
“That sounds about right,” Girardi said. “As long as we don’t have any setbacks, that’s realistic.”
Assuming he feels good tomorrow, Pettitte’s next bullpen will come either Tuesday or Wednesday. It was obvious from Pettitte’s tone this morning that he feels much better than he did on Friday, and Girardi seemed similarly encouraged.
As for how long Pettitte rehabs, Girardi said he might not get fully stretched out in the minor leagues.
“It might be a situation where we’re not asking you to go 100 pitches your first start back with us,” Girardi said. “Give us 75 or 80, and we’ll see where we are. We’re probably going to have to build him up here a little bit. There might come a point where it’s hard to find games for him to pitch in except up here.”
Here’s Pettitte speaking before the game.
• Without Mark Teixeira in the lineup, Nick Swisher will make his first start of the year in the No. 3 spot.
• Lance Berkman just ran the bases a little bit. Assuming that went well and his ankle felt strong, he’ll begin a rehab assignment with Trenton tomorrow. “We’ll watch carefully to see if he’s favoring it or if he feels OK,” Girardi said. “And then how it feels tomorrow.”
• As long as he’s healthy, Berkman won’t need many minor league at-bats. “I don’t anticipate he’ll need a ton, but you just have to see how it goes,” Girardi said.
• Girardi said he’d have to check with Javier Vazquez to make sure he’s available tonight. Asked who his long man would be, Girardi’s first response was Chad Gaudin. At least, I assume that’s who he meant. “Chad’s available to do that,” Girardi said. Obviously, I was flattered.
• The Yankees seem excited about Ivan Nova’s potential. They liked what they saw last time, and think his breaking ball can be better. “I think we all remember what it’s like to start our first game, and the feelings you have and the emotions you have,” Girardi said. “We saw his curveball get better as the game went on. Could that be because he was too hyped up? Maybe. We think he can be better.”
• Looking ahead two weeks to the Andy Pettitte best-case scenario: The Yankees will be wrapping up a series in Texas and about to begin a series in Tampa Bay. Those would seem to be tough games for a 75-pitch starter who hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in two months. In two and a half weeks, the Yankees are in Baltimore. Would that make more sense? I don’t know. Maybe.
• Frank Thomas is having his number retired before today’s game. “Extremely selective hitter that was very productive,” Girardi said. “Dangerous. Dangerous. Dangerous. Batting champ. Drove in a ton of runs. He was a great player.”
Associated Press photos of Pettitte and Teixeira