A lot of folks hate spring training. It’s usually hum-drum, full of ennui, and the most active fans get is that they cross their fingers to make sure their players escape without injury. So it’s just another ho-hum spring training so far in Yankeeland. Oh, what’s that you say? The Captain is hurt, there’s a superstar coming back, and the battle for rotation spot number 5 continues? Well then. There was a bit of news back there yesterday, so let’s recapitulate a bit and get you caught up for the weekend.
* Obviously, that loud sound you randomly heard yesterday afternoon was Yankee fans’ collective jaws dropping when the Andy Pettitte news was announced. Jason linked you around the Web yesterday, but there’s more out there today. For starters and to be totally clear, this move should not be overthought. It does not mean that the Yanks are particularly nervous about Pineda, or Garcia. As David Schoenfield writes, a Yankee legend wanted to come back, and the team obliged. This is low-low risk, and high reward. Of course, don’t believe any projections. This will be Andy’s 39-to-40-year-old season, and so precisely what the Bombers get out of him will be a mystery. It’s hard to run numbers, projections and metrics on a starting pitcher who sat out the previous year. But for now, just enjoy the reaction:
Ken Davidoff expresses his happy shock, Tyler Kepner is optimistic that Pettitte’s battery is recharged, and John Harper is satisfied that Pettitte decided to return only once he could make the mental commitment necessary to do so. The nostalgia underlying this move cannot be denied and, frankly, should just be embraced. (Unless you’re Freddy Garcia – him? Apparently nasty, and not so happy. That reaction is a little unreasonable, but we’ll give the guy the benefit of the doubt and go the objective route – he very suddenly learned that his job may be threatened. At the very least, Phil Hughes can embrace the ‘pen since he’s been there before).
* Meanwhile, as Brien analyzed yesterday, Michael Pineda’s fastball continues to be a source of concern but stay with me here: it’s just. not. doomsday. While it appears that Yankeeland’s collective feelings about him are mixed, Brien very able noted: it’s an outside shot, at best, that Pineda lands in the minors – for baseball and non-baseball related reasons.
* As you likely already heard, the Captain is nursing a sore calf. He’ll be out of action until at least Tuesday (and that’s just fine). But this is all precautionary. Move along folks, nothing to see here…same goes for the injuries to Nick Swisher and Russell Martin, and sore wrist of Eduardo Nunez.
* As for today, the Yanks take on the Astros with Hiroki Kuroda on the mound. Kuroda’s ongoing challenge with the Yanks, as you well know and as Mark Simon wrote today, is to keep the fly balls to a minimum. Jason hit that Mark Simon entry today, and offered the same nugget of concern. Home run numbers down, please, Mr. Kuroda.