Thursday, January 17, 2013

Yankees get their way with Pettitte out of WBC

The New York Yankees will never admit to this, but they obviously put some subtle pressure on their veteran lefty Andy Pettitte not to pitch in the World Baseball Classic.

Reports earlier this week said Pettitte would pitch for the USA in the tournament, but the lefty’s name was notably missing from the official list of players announced today. While there is still a chance he could be named to the team because one more slot remains open, his appearance on the roster would be a rather shocking development.

The denials will continue from here to eternity. But there’s no question that the Yankees were very concerned about the possibility that Pettitte, who they desperately need this year to solidify their starting rotation, could get hurt during a glorified exhibition, far away from the caring hands of the Yankee trainers. The Yankees could not forbid Pettitte from participating in the WBC, but they could easily have sent him a strong message that pitching for the US squad was not a good idea.

Derek Jeter, captain of the last US squad, is obviously unavailable to play this time around as he recuperates from his ankle injury, which is probably devastating to him because his former manager and second father Joe Torre is managing the team. But the Yankees will be well represented in the 2013 WBC. Mark Teixeira will play for the US, Robinson Cano will represent the Dominican Republic and Francisco Cervelli will play with Italy.

Notice there are no pitchers on that list. The Yankees were not taking a chance with any of their arms, especially the arm of an aging Andy Pettitte. They need him for when the games really count.

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