Despite getting back-to-back strong outings from CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, the New York Yankees have to be thrilled with the prospect of Andy Pettitte’s imminent return to the big leagues.
Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman must be especially pleased. The short stints by his starters has forced Girardi to go to his bullpen early and often, potentially undermining what to date has been the Yankees greatest strength: strong relief work led by Mariano Rivera and David Robertson. And Cashman will feel vindicated by a Pettitte return, considering his Michael Pineda trade has not worked out the way he hoped (still the right move as far as I’m concerned).
Phil Hughes is up tonight and there’s no question that he absolutely needs a strong start. Freddy Garcia has already been banished to the bullpen and Hughes may join him if he doesn’t recover from his perplexing start against the Texas Rangers. Of course, one good start might not save his job, but at this point, it could definitely help.
Pettitte has pronounced himself ready although the Yankees will likely tread more cautiously. No one is expecting Pettitte to pitch lights out every turn in the rotation. But the wise old man (at a mere 39 years old) will immediately calm the nerves of everyone in the Yankees universe. We don’t know if Pettitte is going to have the same stuff considering his year-long pitching sabbatical. But we know he is going to show the same heart and bulldog mentality on the mound that we’re used to seeing, something the Yankees are desperately in need of right now.