Monday, April 29, 2013

Pettitte Set to Face That Other Team if Weather Holds Up

Moses wandered the desert for 40 years. Andy Pettitte wandered the state of Texas for three. That was a helluva rough trip for Moses, but seeing Andy Pettitte in an Astros uniform really sucked.

Pettitte and the Yankees parted ways after the 2003 season, one in which Pettitte matched his career high with 21 wins and struck out a career high 180 hitters. He then went 3-1 in the post-season, which featured a come from behind win in Game 7 of the ALCS with Boston and a six game loss to Florida in the World Series.

Word was that the Yankees were concerned about Pettitte's elbow and that he wanted to pitch closer to his Texas home. The Astros won out, but Pettitte's first year in Houston was a disaster for both teams.  Pettitte made just 15 starts after he suffered a torn flexor tendon in his pitching elbow. The injury reportedly occurred from batting rather than throwing.

Meanwhile, the Yankees were on the verge of returning to the World Series, when Boston rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win the ALCS and their first World Series in 86 years. In a parallel universe, Pettitte stays in New York and stays healthy and the Yankees beat Boston since there was no way they would blow a 3-0 lead with Pettitte available to pitch in two of the remaining games. In  that bizarro world, Kevin Brown is never a Yankee either.

Pettitte bounced back the next season to win 17 games and he and then buddy Roger Clemens and the Astros advanced to the World Series. However, they had the misfortune of running into a Chicago White Sox juggernaut that swept them in four games.

The lefty's career in the Lone Star state ended after a 14-13 campaign in 2005. Then it was time to come home again. Pettitte returned to the Bronx in 2007 and won 15 games. He followed that up with back to back 14-win seasons and got his fifth World Series ring when the Yankees beat the Phillies in the 2009 Fall Classic.

Pettitte enters Monday's start with 248 career wins and would likely be in the Hall of Fame one day if he had not admitted HGH use to help with a 2002 injury. The hunch here is that he hangs it up for good after the 2013 season, no one year off and back as he did in 2011. Either way, it's good to have him in the home where he belongs.


Kevin Youkilis had an MRI on his ailing back and is awaiting the result. Should he go on the DL, David Adams (.887 OPS in 13 games so far) is likely the leading candidate to replace him on the 25 man roster. He would have to be added to the 40-man roster as well, which is at its limit.

Ben Francisco could be designated for assignment. Another option is outfielder Melky Mesa, but he's struggling at Scranton right now. Another possibility would have been Ronnier Mustelier but he has been rehabbing the knee injury he suffered in Spring Training.

Phil Hughes had his second straight strong start on Sunday and the straight against a 2012 Cy Young Award winner. Hughes faced David Price in his prior start and R. A. Dickey, last year's NL winner, on Sunday. He didn't figure in the decision in either game, but the Yankees won both.

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