Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Cash Confirms Pettitte Return Date

Via my girl Meredith earlier today, Brian Cashman confirmed that Andy Pettitte will indeed come off the DL next week and rejoin the rotation during the team's Monday-Wednesday series against Cleveland.  Vidal Nuno is scheduled to pitch the Subway Series finale tomorrow, and is currently occupying Pettitte's spot in the rotation.  He'll more than likely be sent down Triple-A to stay stretched out as a starter when his spot comes around again next Tuesday and Andy will get that start.

Pettitte had no problems in his 75-pitch sim game yesterday and I imagine he will throw one more simulated session of some kind before returning.  It will be interesting to see how Joe manages his workload now that he's coming back from his second back problem of the year.  The important thing is that the Left-Handed Jedi has returned.  Now somebody hit the music!

Gardner Getting It Done Lately

(Got that HR trot down.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Amidst the scores of struggling bats, one man has been flying under the radar and quietly putting together a really nice month.  That man, if you were unaware, is Brett Gardner.  I almost didn't realize it myself until a day or two ago, so I'm sure hopeful there are a few more of you out there who didn't realize it either.  After a slow start to the year and some slightly disturbing swing trends, Gardner has really come around and been both a spark at the top of the order and a stud in the field in May.  Were it not for his contributions this month, the Yankees would likely be out a few more Ws.

Injury/Return Updates: Pettitte, Teixeira, Youkilis

Yesterday was a rough one on the field for the Yanks, who lost their 3rd straight game and 5th of their last 7.  The news was much better off the field, as a trio of important veterans took another big step towards returning and providing a much needed boost.

Andy Pettitte threw a 75-pitch simulated game at the team's complex in Tampa, reporting no problems with any part of his back.  No word on whether he'll be scheduled for a MiL start or not, but he could rejoin the rotation next week.  Mark Teixeira, now confirmed to be starting his MiL rehab assignment with Double-A Trenton today, got a partner for that trip when the Yanks announced that Kevin Youkilis would be joining him.  During his pregame presser last night, Joe said it was possible that both could rejoin the team as early as Friday after playing in 2 rehab games.

While I'd prefer to see both guys get a little more rehab game time under their belts to make sure their bodies respond favorably to playing every day, I trust the Yankee training staff knows what it's doing.  It's not like the lineup couldn't use both bats right now, and the presence of David Adams gives Joe the option of using the DH spot for both players against LHP.  First let's see how these 2 games go before we worry about that.

Game 51 Wrap-Up: NYM 2 NYY 1

(Just keep on Web Gemin', Brett.  Courtesy of Getty Images)

Despite all the injuries and all the lineup inconsistencies, the Yankees came into last night's game as the only team in MLB without a losing streak of at least 3 games in 2013.  That's a pretty impressive feat, and their reward for the accomplishment was trying to keep the streak alive against Matt Harvey, the Mets' young ace and already one of the 5 best pitchers in baseball.  Oh wait, that's not a reward.  Silly me.  At least the Bombers had Hiroki Kuroda on the mound to give them a fighting chance, as Hirok looked to bounce back from a poor start his last time out.  He did just fine after a rain delay, but for the second straight night the bullpen let one get away late in a stunning loss.

Game Notes:

- He gave up singles to Reid Brignac and Brett Gardner in the 3rd, otherwise Harvey was the real deal through 4.  His stuff was as electric as advertised and he used it all to strike out 6 of the first 14 batters he faced.

- Kuroda was equally effective in his 4 first innings, although with a helluva lot less flash than Harvey.  He had good fastball life and slider sharpness and retired 9 in a row at one point to keep the game scoreless.

- The Yankees squandered Ichiro reaching on a leadoff error in the 5th.  They didn't make the same mistake when Brett Gardner took second base on a Marlon Byrd bobble to lead off the 6th.  With 2 outs, Harvey left a changeup belt high to Lyle Overbay.  Looking to swing early after striking out in his first 2 ABs, Overbay lined a single up the middle to score Gardner and give the Yanks a 1-0 lead.

- Robinson Cano returned the leadoff error favor on a truly horrid play to start the bottom of the 6th, but some nasty pitches and a killer pickoff play by Kuroda, and another great OF play by Gardner killed the threat.

- It looked like the Yankees would finally really get to Harvey with 2 outs in the 8th after Cano and Vernon Wells singled.  Harvey stayed in with a pitch count over 115 and got Overbay to line out to right to keep it a 1-run game.

- That out turned out to be big in the bottom of the 9th, when Mariano Rivera came on and shockingly gave up 3 straight hits to blow the save and the win.  He was just a little off where he wanted to be on the corner on 3 pitches and it cost him.  First time this season, won't be the last.  You can't get pissed at Mo.