by Rick Orengo
SC Staff Writer
On Friday, March 16, 2012 Andy Pettite ended his one-year retirement and signed a minor league contract with the New York Yankees. Pettite, who turns 40 years old in June, joins a New York Yankees that welcomes new additions in veteran pitcher Hiroki Kuroda who was signed as a free agent and 23-year-old Michael Pineda who was acquired in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. Andy Pettite is a welcomed addition to the Yankees pitching staff, who is the all time leader in postseason wins with 19. Pettite immediately brings a veteran presence and an added leader to the Yankees.
With Pettite deciding to come back for one more year, he also brings even more competition for two remaining spots in the Yankees 5-man starting rotation. The Yankees now have seven starting pitchers capable of making the rotation, with only three guaranteed spots. Manager Joe Girardi announced that only C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettite (when he is ready, sometime in May) will have guaranteed spots in the Yankee rotation. The other three spots, (which will turn into two spots when Pettite returns in May) will be between Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia. It seems right now that Nova, Pineda, and Hughes may very well open the season as the last three pitchers in the Yankee rotation but those three pitchers can be optioned to the minor leagues, whereas Freddy Garcia does not.
While they say you can never have enough pitching, sometimes you wonder how the demotion of a pitcher to either the bullpen or minor leagues would affect team chemistry. Although the pitchers competing for the starting job don’t seem like they would cause any type of problem in the Yankee clubhouse, you just never know.
The pitcher pitching the worst out of the four starting pitchers competing for the job would be Ivan Nova. Nova is 1-2 with a 6.86 ERA in 19.2 innings pitched so far this spring. Although he has been struggling this spring, it is important to note that he won 16 games last season as a rookie with a 3.70 ERA and was the number two starter in the postseason last year and pitched decent in their series vs. the Tigers. Although Nova is pitching the worst out of the bunch, look for veteran pitcher Freddy Garcia, to likely be the odd man out and then possibly Nova once Pettite returns sometime in May.
The signing of Andy Pettite was made with one goal in mind, which is to win the World Series. If the Yankees are fortunate to be in the playoffs, they will have to feel very comfortable about handing the ball off to one of if not the best postseason pitcher ever in Andy Pettite. Andy Pettite ranks first in all-time postseason wins with 19, second in postseason strikeouts with 173, and first in postseason games started with 42. The only remaining question that remains, is once the postseason rolls around, will we see the old Andy Pettite that has helped the Yankees win five World Series championships or the old Andy Pettite, who will turn 40 years old in June.
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