posted on Mar.16, 2012
For those sports fans are not too engulfed with March Madness (which is probably very few), some news trickled out of Yankee camp today that will turn that frown upside down: Andy Pettitte signed a Minor League deal with the Yankees for this upcoming season!! Yankee Doodle Andy is back in pinstripes, coming out of retirement to pitch with the Bombers.
Now, for those who don’t follow spring training story lines as much as I do, Pettitte had been in camp as a special instructor, along with Goose Gossage and Ron Guidry. One of the reasons given by manager Joe Girardi was that the young kids (like Michael Pineda, young prospects like Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances) actually SAW Pettitte pitch when they were younger. They know who the other guys are, but never saw them. But apparently, as Pettitte was hanging around camp he felt a tug calling him back! His deal is worth $2.5 million and has plenty of incentives in there, but according to Pettitte (from the various articles about his return), his arm is in good shape from throwing to his kids and throwing BP in spring training.
While I realize that it is only a Minor League deal, having a guy like Andy Pettitte is a HUGE boost for the Yankees. He is an insurance policy for now, according to WFAN, he will not be ready for the start of the season, but he is already in camp (the contract included an invite to Major League camp, but that is almost a formality because he is already there…). The other thing a guy like Andy brings: experience. I remember when CC and AJ came to the Bronx in 2009, they knew they were the big ticket guys, but they were excited to be able to learn from a guy like Andy Pettitte, especially his postseason experience. Think about it, you have the all-time postseason wins leader right down the locker room from a young kid, how awesome would that be for a guy like Michael Pineda? Leadership is something that just cannot be quantified. I said the same thing about Johan Santana coming back for the Metropolitans, leadership is a hugely important quality in a player that does not have a stat to go with it. Besides the numbers you hope a guy like that to put up, the experience and leadership cannot be underrated.
I don’t want to be TOO eager and look ahead to October when we aren’t even out of March yet, but imagine putting Andy on a mound in some series somewhere in October? Or the reception he would get in his first game back at the Stadium? I would want to be there, that’s for sure.
Andy’s career numbers: 240-138, 3.88 ERA in 16 seasons. His postseason numbers: 19-10, 3.83 ERA, 42 starts, 236 IP, 173 Ks. 19 WINS!!! The closest pitcher behind him in postseason wins is John Smoltz at 15-4.
I hope he can make this comeback successfully and pitch well. I remember in 2010, Pettitte was the Yankees best pitcher, a story of the season in baseball, a 38 year old lefty who was 11-2 with 2.88 ERA at the All-Star Break, earned an All-Star nomination, and then pulled a hammy in his first start after the break. He finally was able to come back at the end of that season and pitch VERY well in the postseason, winning Game 2 of ALDS against the Twins with ease, and pitching exceptionally well in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Rangers, losing to Cliff Lee. In both of those starts, he went 7 innings and gave up 2 runs. He was their best pitcher that season, even better than CC Sabathia.
Anyway, it’s great to have Andy back, I just hope he doesn’t make a fool of himself coming back like Roger Clemens did his second comeback. But the Return of Andy sounds Dandy. #46 is back in pinstripes.