Friday, September 10, 2010

Battle-tested Pettitte could help bury Rays

Andy Pettitte helped his team win a playoff game. What else is new?

Ok, it was a minor-league team, but Pettitte's successful, pain-free outing with the Trenton squad lifted the fortunes of the big-league team. Joe Girardi & Co want the veteran lefty to make one more start in the minors, but he could be back in the New York Yankees rotation in time for a crucial four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

What a boost it would be to the Yankees to have one of the best big-game pitchers back for the stretch run and the playoffs. Tell me you don't like the Yankees chances with ace CC Sabathia, a healthy Andy Pettitte and a rejuvenated Phil Hughes forming the starting core. Yes, the Yankees would still need to decide between the lesser of two evils in AJ Burnett and Javier Vazquez as the fourth starter, but the front three are still better than most.

If Pettitte is back in the rotation against the Rays, I like the chances of the Yankees repeating as American League East division champs. Sure, it's only the first step toward the ultimate goal, but still an important step, even with the wild card. The Rays have hung in pretty well and played the Yankees tough, but a healthy Pettitte could help bury them.

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