As the Yankees gear up for another October run, they’re doing so with major question marks surrounding their pitching staff. A.J. Burnett has lost the ability to pitch consistently or effectively, Javier Vazquez is a nonentity at this point and Phil Hughes is bumping up against an innings limit of sorts. So it is with more than a bit of dismay that we learn about an new injury: Andy Pettitte, reports Mark Feinsand, is battling through a minor back injury the team believes to be muscular.
According to the Daily News scribe, Pettitte felt his back stiffen up during his 3.1-inning start against the Red Sox on Friday, and he attributed this injury to his inability to command his pitches. When the Yanks clinched a playoff spot on Tuesday, the team immediately postponed Pettitte’s outing to give his back a few days of rest. “The next day, I knew I was going to be fine,” Pettitte. “But you don’t want to have anything going on, especially after what I’ve been through with my groin.”
Yanks’ skipper Joe Girardi downplayed the injury. “It’s always a concern whenever a guy is dealing with something,” Girardi said to Feinsand. “But it was muscular, so you have to believe he’ll bounce back. It’s a little concern.” Pettitte is still slated to start on Friday, and Yankees fans will be holding their collective breaths in the meantime. It’s not a stretch to say that the Yanks’ championship hopes rest on Pettitte’s back holding up for four or five more starts.