Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Training 3/17/12

(J. Meric/Getty)
The Yankees beat the Astros 6-3 today. Hiroki Kuroda was fantastic, allowing just one run on three hits in his four innings of work. He struck out two and walked zero, and threw a whopping 49 strikes with his 59 pitches (83.1%). That’ll work just fine thank you. Mariano Rivera needed eight pitches to hit a batter and record three outs in his scoreless inning. He hasn’t allowed a Spring Training run since March 15th, 2008 according to the team.
Robinson Cano was the offensive star of the day, clubbing a three-run homer over the right field bleachers and out of the stadium in an 0-2 count. Bill Hall also chipped in a solo shot, and Andruw Jones had a pair of knocks. Both Curtis Granderson (double and walk) andBrett Gardner (two walks) each reached base twice as well. Dellin Betances showed us all he had in his scoreless inning, including nasty offspeed stuff for swings and misses, on-and-off fastball command, and ugly fielding. Here’s the box score and here’s the rest from Tampa…
  • Eduardo Nunez played today for the first time in close to two weeks. He took batting practice and fielding grounders before the game to test his injured right hand, then wore a protective glove during the game. “It feels better,” he said. [Chad Jennings]
  • Nick Swisher went for a precautionary MRI on his sore groin, which came back clean. He expects to play tomorrow, but since they’re playing a night game an hour away in Sarasota and they have Monday off, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t return until Tuesday. [Bryan Hoch]
  • David Robertson will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday, his first time back on a mound since suffering the bone bruise in his right foot. [Sweeny Murti]
  • Austin Romine resumed baseball activities today. He took some hacks off a tee and soft toss, and played catch as well. He’s been out for most of camp due to back inflammation. [Jennings]
  • Ravel Santana was scheduled to take batting practice in minor league camp today. There’s been some confusion about his status for this summer following the brutal ankle injury that ended his 2011 season, but at least he’s taking BP. Running and playing the outfield is another matter entirely. [Josh Norris]
  • Rule 5 Draft pick pick Brad Meyers threw live batting practice today. He has yet to appear in a game after hurting his shoulder working out this offseason, so his chances of making the team are basically zilch. For shame. [Jennings]

The Pettitte News Confuses Me

I didn't plan on writing again until Monday, as I traveled out of town for St. Patrick's Day, but I had to chime in regarding Andy Pettitte returning to the Yankees.

On the surface this is awesome news. Andy Pettitte has been a key part of 5 World Championships for the Bombers, and put up a 3.98 ERA in 405 starts (2535.2 innings pitched) for them over 13 seasons. And even though he only threw 129 innings in 2010, Pettitte did give up only 4 runs in 14 innings (2 starts) in the postseason (if the Yankees could have figured out Cliff Lee at all Pettitte may have won both of those starts). So it's hard to be upset by the news.

But I'm still confused by this.

The Yankees certainly don't need another starter. We already have Phil Hughes or Freddy Garcia lined up to be the #5 starter. And that right there already has concerns attached to it, as Freddy has very limited experience out of the bullpen (4 out of 2076.1 innings in his career), and many (myself included) want to see Hughes get another shot as a starter. So bringing Andy into the equation causes more issues than it solves.

Now, I readily admit that having too much pitching is never a bad thing. A team is much better off having too many options to choose from, as injury or ineffectiveness is bound to come up somewhere. But what about the AAA guys?

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Empire State Yankees rotation is already set with Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, David Phelps, Adam Warren, and DJ Mitchell. There's a chance that Pettitte is put into the MLB rotation, Garcia is in the bullpen, and Hughes (who has an minor-league option remaining) is sent to AAA. Which would bump one of the previous 5 guys down to AA. That wouldn't be a horrible thing, but I believe each of those pitchers should be working in AAA to prepare for a possible spot in the MLB rotation in 2013.

Andy Pettitte could also mean Freddy Garcia is traded. But what could the Yankees really get for him? Freddy should get the team something useful, as Garcia showed last year that he's still got plenty to offer a team's pitching staff, but the idea that the Yanks could just deal him doesn't exactly excite me. It's not like the Yankees could get Andre Ethier in return for Sweaty Freddy.

Look, the move is not awful by any means, but it's hard to grasp what the Yankees were thinking. Well, it's hard to grasp what they were thinking beyond "it's Andy f'n Pettitte, if he wants to pitch we're going to bring him back".