BOSTON — Andy Pettitte is once again poised to make a major difference for the Yankees. The calendar moves on, the lead character grows older, but this script never really changes.
Pettitte threw four innings of a simulated game Wednesday and all the appropriate parties were satisfied with the results. Did Pettitte display the kind of stuff that could retire Major League hitters?
“Sure. Yeah,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. The brevity of this response indicated that the manager believed this answer was so obvious as to require no further discussion.
What about the 40-year-old lefty himself? He suffered a fractured left ankle on June 27, but here he was, actively campaigning for late-season starts.
“I’m ready,” Pettitte said. “Can I give you 100 pitches? No, but I feel like my stuff has been crisp. If they want me to do this, then I want to get back in there. I’m comfortable with doing that.
The Yankees were encouraged not only by the fact that Pettitte was able to make the necessary defensive movements in the simulated game, covering bases and fielding bunts. But the quality of Pettitte’s pitches remained the striking thing.
“What’s most impressive? Probably his arm strength,” Girardi said. “I know he was able to throw [during rehabilitation], but he had one leg up on a chair and it’s still not the same as being able to air it out and play long-toss. So I’ve been impressed with his arm strength.”
In the end, the Yankees have faith in Pettitte’s ability to do whatever they ask him to do. This, after all, is what he has typically done. So the idea of him returning to the mound at a critical point in the season without any game preparation is not at all far-fetched for them.
My gorgeous Andy Pettitte is coming back to the mound at a very crucial time in the pennant race!!!