As I’ve said before, I’m glad Pettitte will remain with the Yankees in Spring Training even though it would have been neat to see him pitch in the WBC. Rosenthal says there’s a chance Justin Verlander will join the squad — Kris Medlen recently withdrew from the event as well — which would be a pretty huge for Team USA. Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, and Frankie Cervelli as the only Yankees who will participate in the tournament.
Team USA announced its official roster for the World Baseball Classic earlier today (seen here), with Mark Teixeira being the only Yankee to make the squad. Andy Pettitte was reportedly going to participate in the event, but he is not on the final roster. Bob Klapisch explains that Pettitte’s exclusion may have to do with the insurance (or lack thereof) on his contract. Not gonna lie, I’m happy Andy will be the Yankees and not Team USA during Spring Training.
The remaining WBC rosters will be announced later this afternoon. Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic) and Frankie Cervelli (Italy) will participate in the tournament, and that’s expected to be it as far as 40-man roster players go.
I’m surprised the Yankees gave Pettitte the okay to participate in the tournament, but I suppose they have more than enough trust in him to do what’s necessary to prepare for the season. Then again, I don’t even know if they had to consent. Andy probably wanted to pitch for Team USA in what figures to be his final season. It’ll be fun to see him pitching in the WBC, but I will be a bit nervous until he makes it through the thing in one piece.
The comeback went well this season but a fluke leg injury cut it short, so Andy Pettitte has decided to return for another year. The two sides finished up contract talks and have agreed to a new one-year deal worth $12M plus another $2.5M in award-based bonuses according to Buster Olney, Ken Davidoff, and Mark Feinsand. Because the Yankees have been keep tabs on the veteran left-hander’s health this offseason, the process was expedited and the deal is already official.
Pettitte, 40, pitched to a 2.87 ERA (3.48 FIP) in 12 starts and 75.1 innings in his return from retirement this year. He also posted excellent strikeout (8.24 K/9 and 22.8 K%), walk (2.51 BB/9 and 6.9 BB%), and ground ball (56.3%) rates. A hard-hit ground ball fractured his left ankle in late-June and cause him to miss almost three full months, though Pettitte did return in time to make three regular season tune-up starts and two postseason starts.
With Hiroki Kuroda (one-year, $15M) and now Pettitte both re-signed, the Yankees can move forward with their offseason plan knowing the rotation is well set. CC Sabathia will round out the top three while Phil Hughes backs them up as the four, then David Phelps and Ivan Nova figure to compete for the fifth starter’s spot in Spring Training. The Yankees are optimistic about re-signing Mariano Rivera this week as well, and once that’s completed they’ll know exactly how much money they have to address the right field, catcher, DH, and bench holes heading into the Winter Meetings next week.
7:36pm: Pettitte has informed the team that he intends to pitch next season, reports Bryan Hoch. The two sides hope to have a deal done within 48 hours.
8:45am: According to Buster Olney, Andy Pettitte is close to formally announcing his return in 2013. He says the two sides are close to a new contract, which Joel Sherman says will be worth $10-11M. No surprise there.
Pettitte, 40, has reportedly started his offseason workout routine to test his body in advance of a decision. That was an indication a) his family gave him to thumbs up to return in 2013, and b) he actually wanted to play again. I don’t think he would have started his routine if his heart wasn’t into it. Nothing is final yet, but it appear to be only a matter of time before Pettitte is officially back in pinstripes.
I can’t believe I’m actually writing a season review post for Andy Pettitte. The 40-year-old left-hander was retired a little more than ten months ago, having thrown what we thought was his final big league pitch in Game Three of the 2010 ALCS against the Rangers. He spent all of last season at home and showed up to camp as a guest instructor this year, which is pretty routine for notable former players. Little did we know what was going on behind the scenes.
While in Spring Training as an instructor, Pettitte threw a bullpen session for Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman, pitching coach Larry Rothschild, the whole nine. The two sides actually discussed a substantial contract ($10-12M range) during the offseason, but Andy told the team to proceed without him because he wasn’t sure he wanted to make a comeback. That money went to Hiroki Kuroda, then in camp Andy again broached the subject of coming back to pitch. On March 16th, halfway through the Grapefruit League schedule, he signed a one-year minor league contract worth $2.5M.
Pettitte was obviously behind the rest of the pitching staff, so his comeback attempt started in the minor leagues. He made one appearance at the end of Spring Training then progressively climbed the minor league ladder. First came three innings with High-A Tampa, then four innings with High-A Tampa, then five innings with Double-A Trenton, then another five innings with Triple-A Scranton. He was ready to go by early-May and the Yankees needed him — Michael Pineda just had shoulder surgery, Phil Hughes had a dreadful April, and Freddy Garcia was so bad that David Phelps took his spot in the rotation.
Andy’s first start back came at home against the Mariners on May 13th. He allowed two two-run homers in 6.1 innings in the loss, but he looked like the Andy Pettitte of old. He was cutting his fastball, sweeping his slider, and inducing double plays at just the right time. Five days later he struck out nine Cincinnati Reds in eight shutout innings, officially putting an exclamation point on his comeback attempt. Through the end of June, his first nine starts back, Pettitte pitched to a 3.22 ERA (3.37 FIP) in 58.2 innings with ungodly peripherals: 9.05 K/9 (25.2 K%), 2.30 BB/9 (6.4 BB%), and 58.3% grounders. He wasn’t just a solid veteran starter, he was pitching like an ace.
The comeback came to screeching halt in the fifth inning of a start against the Indians on June 27th, when a Casey Kotchman hard-hit ground ball clanked off Pettitte’s left ankle. He went after the ball but crumbled to the ground, then was lifted one pitch later. Andy talked the training staff into leaving him in the game after some warm-up tosses, but it was obvious something was wrong. The diagnosis came down after the game: Pettitte had fractured his left ankle and would be out six weeks.
Those six weeks became seven weeks when Andy pushed his rehab a little too hard and suffered a setback, so he didn’t return to the team until mid-September. He did all of his prep work in simulated games — no minor league rehab games at all — and returned to the rotation against the Blue Jays on September 19th. Limited to 75 pitches, Pettitte threw five scoreless innings and followed up with six scoreless innings on 88 pitches against the Twins five days later. Rain threw a wrench in the late-September plan, limiting Andy three starts instead of four. The Yankees lost both of Pettitte’s playoff starts but they weren’t hit fault — he allowed five total runs in 13.2 innings.
Andy’s comeback featured a 2.87 ERA (3.48 FIP) in 75.1 innings across a dozen starts, plus some of the best peripherals of his career: 8.24 K/9 (22.8 K%), 2.51 BB/9 (6.9 BB%), and 56.3% grounders. There was legitimate concern about how the year-long layoff would impact Pettitte, but I joked that maybe it did his body good and gave him ample time to rest and heal up. That’s exactly what appeared to happen, funny enough. Pettitte looked as good as ever when he was on the mound, though the ankle injury obviously took a little blush off the rose. Either way, the Yankees came into the season expecting to get literally nothing out of Andy, but he made a successful comeback and became a valuable and important member of the rotation.
Via Mark Feinsand: Andy Pettitte has started his usual offseason workout routine to “see how his body will react” before making a final decision about next season. Over the weekend we heard the veteran left-hander could have a decision by the end of the week.
Feinsand’s report seems like an indication that a) Pettitte’s family has already given him the okay to pitch next year, and b) Pettitte wants to come back. Now it’s just a matter of finding out if he’s physically up to it. Andy is a big part of the Yankees’ offseason one way or the other, so the sooner he makes his decision the better. Working out a contract doesn’t figure to be much of a problem, it’s Pettitte figuring out if he wants to come back.