(Does The Force help boost pitch counts?)
This scares me:
"If we feel he [Pettitte] can move around and compete enough in a game, it’s conceivable."- Joe, via The Post.
“We got through today, which was really good and he’s worked hard to get to this point because it’s been on a little bit shorter rest and we have to see how he bounces back.” - Joe, via LoHud.
“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.” - Andy, via LoHud.
I don't like this. I don't like it one bit. But...
I can't say anything bad about it. I want to say that rushing Andy back before it's a sure thing that he's 100% is a bad idea. I want to say that inserting him into the rotation before he's fully stretched out in his pitch count doesn't make sense, because it would essentially be replacing a guy who can only give the team 4-5 innings with a guy who can only give the team 4-5 innings. I want to say that moving around and competing "enough," and waiting to see how Andy "bounces back" are not strong foundations for making the decision to re-insert a 40-year-old pitcher coming off a serious injury into the rotation.
But at the end of the day, there isn't any counterpoint I can make for why Pettitte SHOULDN'T come back now. Freddy Garcia sucks, David Phelps (last night's outing not withstanding) is probably a better fit as a middle relief option down the stretch, and CC and Kuroda have been average at best. 4-5 innings or 60-70 pitches from Andy is a better option than anything else the Yankees can throw out there right now. The Orioles are still doing their 1-run magic thing, the Yankee offense and bullpen isn't coming around. The Yankees need Andy Pettitte back in the rotation, healthy or not and stretched out or not, and that's the bottom line. This is what it's come to in the final 3 weeks and I'm analytically and logically powerless to stop it.