New York Yankees: Andy Pettitte

Jeter, Pettitte pull Mo in final home game

September, 27, 2013
Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Derek JeterAP Photo/Bill KostrounTeammates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter took the ball from Mo Rivera in Rivera's last home game.
NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte was the co-star of the most emotional moment seen at either Yankee Stadium in many years tonight, when he and Derek Jeter went to the mound to get Mariano Rivera with two outs in the ninth inning of the New York Yankees' 4-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays. It was a special moment for all three, but especially for Pettitte and Rivera, because over the past 19 years, Mo has saved 72 of Pettitte's 255 career wins, the most productive starter-closer tandem in baseball history.

That is why, when Pettitte reached the mound, Rivera pulled him into a bear hug and wouldn't let go, the tears streaming freely from Rivera's eyes, an incredibly intimate moment shared with nearly 50,000 live spectators and who knows how many more in front of televisions around the country.

"I don’t even know how to explain it because I wasn’t expecting it," Pettitte said. "There was so much emotion running through him, I guess, and I felt he didn’t want to let go so I just kept hugging him, so I just stayed with it. I was just gonna go with it as long as he wanted to stay out there."

Pettitte said he wasn't entirely on board with manager Joe Girardi's plan to have him and Jeter, both teammates with Rivera since 1995 and all members of five Yankee World Championship teams, remove Mo from the game -- "I was like, 'Oh, man, I don't know if that's a good idea, it might be a little weird'" -- but changed his opinion when the reality of what happened on that mound washed over him.

"But it was so cool, just so cool. It was a great moment," Pettitte said. "It was something that obviously I'll never forget."

Pettitte said that while Rivera was weeping, Pettitte was telling his longtime friend and teammate that he loved him and that it was an honor to have played alongside him. And, Pettitte admitted, an internal film loop of the highlights of his own distinguished Yankees career began playing in his own head.

"It all was going through my head," Pettitte said. "Everything we’ve done, all we’ve been through. It’s all been so special. It’s crazy how fast it went by, you know? It’s been really cool."

Pettitte, who is heading into retirement himself and will make his last career start Saturday against his former club, the Astros, in Houston, had his own moment of tribute when the crowd began chanting his name and his teammates urged him to take a curtain call. Pettitte was resistant to the idea until he noticed that the Tampa Bay Rays, in an impressive display of class and sportsmanship, were urging him out as well, and had no intention of taking the field until he had done so.

"It was just great," Pettitte said. "I don’t need anything else. I just feel so fortunate to have been out there and been a part of this weekend; the last few days have been incredible."

Yankees honor Pettitte prior to game

September, 25, 2013
NEW YORK -- It wasn’t Mariano Rivera Day -- not by a long shot -- but the Yankees honored Andy Pettitte in a short ceremony prior to Wednesday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Pettitte received a framed base from his last Yankee Stadium start signed by the entire team.

Fellow Core Four members Derek Jeter and Rivera presented the base to Pettitte, as the team stood outside the dugout.

It was very low-key, perhaps exactly what Pettitte wanted.

Girardi's quick hook on Pettitte backfires

September, 1, 2013
NEW YORK -- It came down to the swings.

After veteran Andy Pettitte allowed two singles to start the seventh inning in Sunday's 7-3 loss, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had two choices with his team nursing a 3-0 lead at the time: Keep the veteran in at 93 pitches or go to his vaunted bullpen to take it home.

Girardi chose the latter, citing the previous two at-bats.

Big mistake.

"He was up in pitches, they had squared two balls up in a row, we thought it was time to make a change," Girardi said. "Unfortunately, it didn't work."

Girardi's decision to pull Pettitte backfired as the bullpen had one of its worst days, coughing up the three-run lead in a pivotal game at Yankee Stadium. The trio of Shawn Kelley, Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain allowed seven runs to score before recording the second out of the frame, preventing the Yankees from earning a much-needed sweep over the Orioles. Pettitte was saddled with a no-decision after giving up two runs in six innings.

[+] EnlargeAndy Pettitte
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsAndy Pettitte received a no-decision in Sunday's loss.
"It's not even an issue to me," Pettitte said of not being able to finish the frame. "I know Joe has all the faith in the world in our bullpen and I know Joe has faith in me also. Especially right now, you can't second-guess going to our bullpen, they've been so great. Got the best bullpen in the league as far as I'm concerned. It wasn't a good day for them."

Pettitte pitched a great game on Sunday, keeping a tough Baltimore lineup scoreless through six. Baltimore opened the seventh with singles by Michael Morse and Danny Valencia, which brought Matt Wieters, who was 0-for-2 with two strikeouts at the time, to the plate as the tying run.

The southpaw has owned Wieters during his career, as Wieters is 2-for-12 with eight strikeouts against Pettitte, and Girardi said that data was considered but didn't become the deciding factor. Girardi referenced Wieters' better numbers against lefties, and with Pettitte losing a little sharpness nearing the 100-pitch plateau the team usually keeps him to, Girardi went to the bullpen.

The veteran left to a standing ovation, and it would be the last big cheer from the packed Yankee Stadium on this day. Kelley allowed an RBI single to Wieters that sliced the lead to 3-1, and J.J. Hardy hit a three-run shot that put the Orioles ahead for good.

"It's a frustrating loss and Joe's our manager and he makes the decisions," Pettitte said. "I've got no problem with what he's doing out there."

The Yankees' bullpen entered the game with a league-best 1.05 ERA dating back to Aug. 16, but couldn't keep it going Sunday. After Hardy's three-run homer, Logan allowed a pair to reach and Adam Jones followed with a three-run shot off Chamberlain as the Orioles plated seven that inning.

"It's tough obviously," Kelley said of the loss. "Three-run lead going into the seventh, chance for a sweep against a team we're neck and neck with. It's a tough one to swallow and it's completely on me for those pitches there. I have to find a way to get Wieters out and get us in the dugout with the lead."

Notebook: Jeter likely back to Tampa

August, 11, 2013
NEW YORK -- Derek Jeter, currently on the disabled list once again with a Grade 1 right calf strain, is likely headed to Tampa to rehab when the New York Yankees hit the road Friday for a three-game series against the Rays, according to manager Joe Girardi.

“He’ll continue to increase his work here,” Girardi said following Sunday’s 5-4 walk-off victory over the Detroit Tigers. “When we go on the road, I think he’ll probably go back down to Tampa and resume baseball activities.”

Jeter has thrown on the Yankee Stadium field before Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s games.

“I would assume I’m going to run soon, but I don’t know,” Jeter said Saturday. “All I know is what I’m doing today, I’ve got to go ride the bike. But I would assume [I’ll run] in the next couple of days.”

Jeter has played in just five games this season due to injury.

• Left fielder Alfonso Soriano recorded his 2,000th career hit with a solo home run in the fourth inning.

“It’s nice to get it out of the way. Now I feel more comfortable,” Soriano said. “I don’t think about it. I’m very happy.”

Soriano’s first major-league hit? A homer.

“I feel very blessed,” he said.

According to Elias, Soriano is just one of four players who made their MLB debuts with the Yankees in the past 60 years to record 2,000 career hits, joining Jeter, Bernie Williams and Don Mattingly.

• Andy Pettitte said he was upset with the way he pitched Sunday.

The veteran left-hander allowed just one run, but needed 101 pitches to get labor through 4 1/3 innings. In his last two starts, Pettitte has given up 19 hits over seven innings.

He has now allowed a first-inning run in a franchise-record eight consecutive starts.

“You hate to throw 4 1/3, but the pitch count was just too high again; too many pitches early in the game,” he said. “But it was nice to go out there and give up one.”

• The Yankees won a series for the first time since going 2-1 against Baltimore from July 5-7. They snapped a streak of eight consecutive non-winning series (0-5-3).

• Setup man David Robertson gave up a solo homer to Brayan Pena leading off the eighth, which snapped his streak of 20 1/3 scoreless innings.

Rapid Reaction: White Sox 8, Yankees 1

August, 5, 2013

Can MLB commissioner Bud Selig suspend the entire Yankees roster for the rest of the season by invoking his “best interests of baseball” clause?

The Chicago White Sox jumped all over Andy Pettitte early in Alex Rodriguez’s season debut Monday and snapped a 10-game losing streak, walloping the floundering Yankees 8-1 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Rodriguez, playing in his first game of the 2013 campaign after receiving a 211-game suspension earlier in the day, went 1-for-4 at the plate.

Pettitte allowed seven runs on 11 hits in just 2 2/3 innings. He dropped to 7-9 and his ERA ballooned to 4.71.

WHAT IT MEANS: Biogenesis Day wasn’t a good day. Sure, A-Rod is back -- at least for the time being; he is appealing the suspension. But Derek Jeter was placed on the disabled list due to a strained calf, and the Yankees (57-54) still stink, having now lost three of their past four and six of their past nine. They’re on the verge of really falling out of the race. Entering Monday night’s action, they had the fourth-worst record in the American League since the All-Star break.

Aside from Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova, their rotation is extremely inconsistent and when it comes to hitting, well, as you would expect from a team missing so much superstar power, they’ve been lousy all season. Compliments to Mariano Rivera and David Robertson out of the bullpen, of course. They’ve been outstanding.

A-ROD WATCH: Before the game, A-Rod told reporters that the last seven months have been a “nightmare,” but did not deny doing performance-enhancing drugs. He missed the first 110 games of the season due to injury. Rodriguez was booed before each of his at-bats. He blooped a single to left field in the first inning, flied out to center in the fourth, flied out to the edge of the warning track in left in the sixth and struck out looking at a nasty 3-2 breaking ball in the eighth.

The Yankees need A-Rod to be a force in the middle of the lineup and drive in runs. A lot ask from a 38-year-old who just played in his first MLB game since Oct. 18, 2012, and is coming off a pair of hip surgeries.

FIRST IS THE WORST: Pettitte gave up three runs in the first inning. It was his seventh straight start allowing at least one first-inning run, which is a franchise record. Five of the first six White Sox hitters Pettitte faced singled, putting the Yankees in an early 3-0 hole they weren’t able to climb out of. For what it’s worth, Pettitte did pitch well in his previous two starts.

ALL IS WELLS AT FIRST: Vernon Wells made his first career start at first base. He went 3-for-4 at the plate.

THEY SCORE! The Yankees avoided being shut out for the 10th time this season when Brett Gardner delivered a seventh-inning sacrifice fly to center. It was the only run surrendered by southpaw Jose Quintana, who scattered eight hits over 6 2/3 innings to pick up the win. The Yankees went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

UP NEXT: Hiroki Kuroda (10-6, 2.38) versus Chris Sale (6-11, 2.92) on Tuesday night at 8:10 p.m. ET.

Win still brings frustration for Pettitte

July, 6, 2013
Andy Pettitte is one of the best left-handers of his generation, maybe a future Hall of Famer.

But he's also human.

So he felt just like anyone else who worked outside in the sweltering heat on Saturday.

"It was a grind out there, man," Pettitte said.

But it was worth it.

Pettitte earned the win in the New York Yankees' 5-4 triumph over the Baltimore Orioles by giving up four runs (three earned) on nine hits over 6⅔ innings.

Andy Pettitte
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIAndy Pettitte snapped a three-game losing streak Saturday, but he wasn't too happy afterward.
In doing so, he snapped a personal four-start winless streak. It's no surprise that the win came against the Orioles. Pettitte is undefeated in his past 11 starts against Baltimore since Sept. 19, 2007, going 8-0 with a 2.99 ERA.

Overall, he is 28-6 against the O's. Only Yankees great Whitey Ford (30) has more wins against them in team history.

But Pettitte wasn't exactly popping champagne in the clubhouse after his latest win over Baltimore.

Instead, the 41-year-old chided himself for a lack of execution.

"Usually, when you throw the ball where you want to, you feel like that's going to be an out," Pettitte said. "I haven't been getting that the past three or four starts."

Pettitte's ERA has risen by more than a half-run over his past five starts. That's not an astronomical increase, but it's worth watching because the 17-year vet has noticed a troubling trend in recent starts.

He's hitting his spots, but he's not getting the intended results.

"It just seems like my pitch selection isn't right," Pettitte said. "Maybe I've been a little aggressive in certain counts."

One example Pettitte cited was his second-inning battle with Chris Davis.

Pettitte made the pitch he wanted -- a cutter on the inner half of the plate -- but Davis drove it over the center-field wall for his 33rd home run.

"It was exactly where I wanted, but he's just a big, strong man," Pettitte said.

He gave up seven more hits over the next six innings but managed to scatter them and allow the Yankee offense to come back from an early 3-0 deficit.

He left to an ovation from the 42,678 on hand after he struck out Nick Markakis looking in the seventh.

"I think they all know what I'm trying to do out there," Pettitte said.

But he couldn't mask his frustration.

"I can't remember going through a stretch like I have right now where you feel like every decision you're making out there is not the right one," he said. "I feel really good [physically], and I'm hoping that I can get off on a long streak soon."

Pettitte pitches poorly again in Bronx

June, 20, 2013
NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte felt good but pitched poorly.

Pettitte gave up five runs on nine hits in 6⅔ innings and the Yankees lost to the Rays 8-3 on Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.

[+] EnlargeAndy Pettitte
AP Photo/Frank Franklin IIIn the Yankees' 8-3 loss, Andy Pettitte dug another hole, a trend the veteran hopes to discontinue.
“It’s just disappointing,” Pettitte said. “I need to be better. I need to shut these guys down and give us a chance to score first one time instead of always being in a hole, and I just feel like I’m putting us in a hole every time out right now.”

Since winning his first three starts of the season, Pettitte, who went on the disabled list due to a strained trapezius muscle in his upper back, is 2-5 with a 5.13 ERA.

“He just got some balls in the middle of the plate, and they didn’t miss them,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He didn’t make a ton of mistakes, but the ones he made, they capitalized on them, and when he got the ball in the middle of the plate, they hit it.”

The Yankees got within 4-3 of the Rays in the sixth, but Pettitte gave up back-to-back two-out doubles to Desmond Jennings and Sean Rodriguez in the seventh and was lifted as a result.

“Joe gave me a chance to get out of that inning with Rodriguez up, and I couldn’t get him out,” Pettitte said. “It’s just disappointing because we’re battling.”

Pettitte is winless in five starts at Yankee Stadium (0-3, 7.46 ERA). He said he needs to get back to throwing more bullpens in between starts and wants to pitch every five days; his injury recovery and off days have not allowed for that to occur.

Still, Pettitte admitted, those are just excuses. The bottom line is he’s not getting it done.

“He’s a veteran. He’ll get on a roll for us, too,” Girardi said.

Boone Logan was struck in the left hand fielding a comebacker for the final out of the eighth.

“My guess is he’ll be OK, but we’ll see tomorrow,” Girardi said.

Lyle Overbay committed a foolish baserunning mistake after doubling in the seventh -- running on a ground ball hit in front of him -- and was thrown out at third.

“It’s just a bad read. That’s all it is,” Girardi said.

• Zolio Almonte picked up his first MLB hit in the ninth. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he’s the second player in history named Zolio to get a hit. Zolio Versalles had 1,246 career hits for five teams.

• The Yankees are hitting a paltry .238 as a team with a .301 on-base percentage. They went 15 consecutive innings without scoring before plating three runs in the sixth.

Brett Gardner (2-for-3) has hit safely in 22 of his past 26 games since May 24.

Vernon Wells went 0-for-3, and his average dipped to .221.

Tex's slam helps power Yanks past Tribe

June, 3, 2013

Mark Teixeira pumped his fist as he rounded first base.

Nothing like a delivering a big hit when your team is struggling after missing the first two months of the season.

Teixeira, playing in just his fourth game of the year, drilled a third-inning grand slam that just got over the short porch in right field, and the Yankees went on to beat the Cleveland Indians 7-4 on Monday night at the Stadium.

“We needed this win,” said Teixeira, who connected for his first home run since Oct. 1. “We’ve had a rough enough streak the last week and a half, two weeks, as it is. So we needed this one tonight, and that grand slam was good for me and good for the team.”

It was Teixeira’s eighth career grand slam and the first by a Yankee this season. The Bombers had lost seven of their last eight games coming in.

Teixeira jumped all over a 2-2 pitch from Justin Masterson with one out in the third to stake the Yankees to a 4-1 lead.

“I think for our team and what he went through this year, the [wrist] injury he had was probably a little bit scary, and to be out there playing after having to sit down for two months, you could tell how excited he is,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It was probably a really long two months for him watching us play and it’s great to have him back.”

Teixeira hopes the long ball can serve as a springboard moving forward.

[+] EnlargeTeixeira
Jason Szenes/Getty Images Mark Teixeira gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead in the third with his eighth career grand slam.
“You want to have positive outcomes early on. I know it’s going to take me a few weeks to get back into the rhythm of playing everyday and seeing big-league pitching every day,” Teixeira said. “But like I said, this is a good first step.”

As for how his wrist feels?

“So far, so good,” Teixeira said.

Other notes from Monday:

Andy Pettitte, pitching for the first time since being activated from the 15-day disabled list, couldn’t hold a 4-1 lead and will have to wait for victory No. 250.

The veteran left-hander gave up four runs on seven hits in 4⅔ innings, but picked up a no-decision. He surrendered three of those runs in the fifth inning when he ran out of gas.

“I felt good,” said Pettitte, who had been out with a shoulder injury. “Personally for me, not happy with the final results but definitely fired up that the club was able to get a win.”

Lyle Overbay's first-career major league start in the outfield went just fine. Thrust into action in right due to injuries, he handled the only fly ball he saw in the fifth inning.

“I survived,” Overbay said.

Girardi said he would not hesitate to use Overbay out there again.

Overbay was hoping he’d get his first chance to make a play much sooner.

“I wanted to get it over with,” he said.

It was the first time Overbay had played any other position than first base in his career (1,198 starts).

Travis Hafner, who turned 36 Monday, hit his first homer since May 20 in the seventh inning and snapped a 1-for-22 skid.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Hafner is the fourth Yankee to homer on his birthday at age 36-plus since 1920; Lou Piniella (1980), Rick Cerone (1990) and Tim Raines (1996) are the others.

• The Yankees’ bullpen delivered 4⅓ scoreless innings in relief of Pettitte. Mariano Rivera allowed the only hit but converted his 20th save in 21 opportunities.

Nick Swisher went 0-for-4 in his return to the Bronx.

Ben Francisco was released prior to the game. ... Girardi said both Chris Stewart (dehydration) and Kevin Youkilis (day off) are healthy. ... Girardi inserted Jayson Nix at third in the ninth for defensive purposes.

Pettitte 'not sure' about next start

May, 17, 2013
Andy PettitteAP Photo/Bill KostrounAndy Pettitte struggled with his command through the first four innings before being pulled early.
Andy Pettitte said he is pretty sure the tightness in his left trapezius that caused him to leave Thursday's game with two out in the fifth inning was nothing more serious than a muscle spasm.

But Pettitte said he is not at all sure that he will be able to make his next start, scheduled for Tuesday against the Orioles in Baltimore.

"Obviously, I’m realistic," he said after taking the loss in the New York Yankees' 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Mariners. "I know how these guys are. I asked them if I could stay out there and try to get through it out there. So I’m hoping it's a spasm and it settles down. I can’t tell you I’ve had this before. I haven’t, so I don’t know, but I don’t feel like it’s tight right now. I feel like it’s loosened up and relaxed, so that's a good sign."

Pettitte left the game after striking out Kyle Seager for the second out of the fifth inning and the Mariners leading, 2-1. According to Joe Girardi, he noticed that Pettitte's velocity had dropped and that his arm speed was noticeably slower in the inning. Pettitte's cutter had clocked as high as 92 mph in the second inning but was down to around 87 mph in the fifth.

"He wanted to stay," Girardi said. "He said, 'I just got two outs (Pettitte fanned Jason Bay with a 77 mph slider to start the inning), let me try to get one more.' I said, 'No, because if you really hurt yourself you might be out for a long, long time as opposed to maybe missing a start.' It might not be anything."

Pettitte said he originally felt the pain in the fourth inning -- "It just completely locked up on me" -- and between innings went down to the clubhouse for a massage and heat treatment from trainer Steve Donohue, which provided temporary relief.

"But on my first pitch to Bay it just completely locked up again," Pettitte said. "It was just really tight. I couldn’t get extended at all. I really just felt like I was kinda cutting everything off, and just really trying to throw it in there, almost slower than slow to tell you the truth."

Pettitte said there were no tests scheduled and a lot would depend on how he felt Friday morning, and when it comes time for him to throw his between-starts bullpen session on Saturday. But he acknowledged that he was beginning to feel his age (he will turn 41 on June 15), and after missing nearly three months of last season after suffering a broken leg after being hit by a line drive, he has already missed a turn once this season with lower back pain.

"There's no doubt I'm getting old, but I don't want to sit here and tell you that that's the exact reason why," Pettitte said. "I guess anybody can jump to conclusions and say that, but then I look around the league and I see all kinds of people on the DL with all kinds of problems that are a lot younger than me, too. It's baseball and it's tough on the body, and it's an unnatural movement to throw that thing."

After pitching well in his last start, a win over the Royals in Kansas City, Pettitte was dissatisfied with his stuff even before he began experiencing the upper back pain. He allowed a run in the second inning on a walk, a single and an RBI double to Dustin Ackley, and barely escaped major damage in the fourth when he loaded the bases on a single and two walks, allowing one run on an infield hit by Brendan Ryan. Although he struck out five, Pettitte walked three batters in the first four innings, an inordinately high number for him.

"It’s been a battle, no doubt, it’s been a battle the past four starts," he said. "My command hasn’t been what I expected it to be, or what it’s been. I don’t know if something is causing that. But it is frustrating when you go out there and I’m not able to command the strike zone quite like I usually do."

With Ivan Nova still on the disabled list, now with an oblique injury, and Vidal Nuno ineligible to be recalled until next Thursday, the Yankees' only option if Pettitte can't go appears to be Adam Warren.

QUESTION: With the Yankees nine games over .500 and still atop the AL East by a game, do you think it is wise to skip Pettitte's next start, even if he says he feels good to go?

Pettitte pulled with tight trapezius muscle

May, 16, 2013
New York Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte left Thursday's game against Seattle in the fifth inning with a tight left trapezius muscle.

After Pettitte struck out Seattle's Kyle Seager on a 77 mph slider for the second out in the fifth, Yankees manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and trainer Mark Littlefield all visited him on the mound. After a brief meeting, Pettitte left the game after throwing just 79 pitches with the Yankees down 2-1.

To read more, click here.

Updates on Nunez, Pettitte

April, 13, 2013
Eduardo Nunez is not in the Yankees' lineup on Saturday, and may miss the rest of the series with the Orioles.

"He is not available for me probably today," manager Joe Girardi said. "I could pinch-run him maybe, in a pinch. We’re probably looking at more like Tuesday. We’ll see."

Nunez took a pitch off his right wrist in Friday night's win, and had to leave the game. X-rays were negative, and the Yankees termed the injury a contusion. Jayson Nix is playing shorstop on Saturday in Nunez's place.

The Yankees wrap up this three-game series with the Orioles on Sunday, and are off Monday.

PETTITTE: The date for Andy Pettitte's next start is still up in the air. He was supposed to pitch Sunday, but has been pushed back at least a couple days because of back spasms.

"We’ll continue to progress, and decide which day is best for him to start," Girardi said.

Pettitte could start Tuesday or Wednesday against the Diamondbacks, or he could be pushed back further, but Girardi did not sound particularly concerned. "I’m gonna look at him today and see how he is today, and if we have to change it, we’ll change it."
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers 10-6 today in Lakeland, but there were some positives that came out of it:

PETTITTE'S EXPECTATIONS: Andy Pettitte got victimized by high winds and high cutters at Joker Marchant Stadium, allowing four runs in his 6 1/3 innings, including a home run by Jhonny Peralta, but Cody Eppley, who faced five batters, allowed five hits, including a huge home run Miguel Cabrera, and got charged with five runs, took the loss. Afterward, Pettitte was pleased with his performance -- "Everything was good, right where I wanted it. I made some bad pitches I left up in the zone, but for the most part I was pretty happy with it.”

But he's even more pleased with the Yankees' chances to repeat as AL East champions.

“We’re the division champs," he said. "I expect us to win the division. We came four games away from going to the World Series last year; that’s a pretty good year. We have a lot of pieces coming back and hopefully we can do what we want to do and that’s getting to the World Series.”

BIG BEN'S DAY: Ben Francisco, in the final days of trying to win a job in the Yankees outfield, made the most of it, hitting a pair of home runs, a solo shot in the fourth off starter Anibal Sanchez and a two-run HR off Bruce Rondon in the eighth. The Yankees also got offensive contributions from Kevin Youkilis (2-for-4, 2-RBI double), Eduardo Nunez (2-for-4, RBI) and Juan Rivera (3-for-4).

BRETT'S BOILER: Not so good. Brett Gardner left the game after five innings with an upset stomach caused, Joe Girardi said, by something he ate on Friday. Gardner should be fine by tomorrow.

State of the Binder: Day 11

February, 22, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- Last day of workouts before the games begin and Joe Girardi seems happy about that. As he said today, "I've seen enough bullpens." Tomorrow, he gets to see the real thing. Here's the highlights of his post-workout session:

MO LOOKS "NORMAL": And that's good enough for Joe, who stood behind Mariano Rivera during his 20-pitch live BP session and came away impressed. He also got a kick out of Mo saying to Rob Segedin, the first hitter he faced, "You better swing because all you're going to see are strikes," after the kid let the first two pitches go by. And he cracked up when told that after Segedin lined the next pitch into center, Andy Pettitte cracked from the bench, "That'll shut him up." Joe thought Pettitte, who preceded Mo on the mound, looked good, too.

DON'T COUNT OUT JORGE: He was at least half-kidding, but Girardi refused to rule out the possibility that Jorge Posada, in camp for a few days as a guest instructor, could be seduced by the spring training atmosphere and decide to end his retirement. "I know there was a lefthanded pitcher that said he wasn’t coming back, either," Girardi said, referring to Pettitte. "He came to camp, sat in on a few meetings and all of a sudden he was back a couple weeks later. Any time we have a guy that is doing what Jorge is doing, people are going to speculate. And I think it’s fair to do that."

HUGHES IMPROVES: Phil Hughes said his back felt "significantly better" after three days of anti-inflammatories for a bulging disk, but Joe tempered his enthusiasm somewhat. "It’s still too early. I think you have to see him get on the mound to feel that you’re through it and that it’s not going to be an issue that pops up all the time. But that’s a good sign," he said.

COOL ON AARDSMA: Joe was curiously restrained in his praise of David Aardsma, who is trying to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. when asked how Aardsma looked in his live BP, which preceded Pettitte's, Girardi said "Pretty good," with emphasis on the word "pretty. And when he was asked if Aardsma, a former closer with the Seattle Mariners, was reasonably assured of a bullpen spot, the manager said, "I think we have some pretty good competition here for some spots. I like to say all our guys have to earn their spots. That’s the way I look at it. He’s a guy that has closer experience and a lot of experience. You would expect that to pay off." We'll see.

Morning Notes: Mo, Andy and the roster

February, 22, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- Hard to believe but today is the final day of workouts before the Yankees start playing preseason games, beginning with tomorrow afternoon's game against the Braves in Kissimmee. Here's what happened this morning.

1. MO THROWS: Mariano Rivera took another step in his road back from knee surgery when he threw to hitters Kyle Roller and Rob Segedin in a 20-pitch live batting practice session. Mo was in a great mood, even calling his own strikes from the mound, and afterward declared the session "very good." More details coming later.

2. PETTITTE, TOO: Andy Pettitte preceded Mo and threw to Corban Joseph and Addison Maruszak. Looked good but no one spoke with him because Mo was up next. We'll check in with him later.

3. WHO IS THAT MASKED MAN: Why, it's Jorge Posada, of course, who made his first appearance in camp as a guest instructor. He stood behind the screen with Joe Girardi and Larry Rothschild during the live BPs and hasn't spoken to reporters yet.

4. WE'RE GOING TO DISNEY: As reported here yesterday, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez are making the trip to Kissimmee tomorrow, as well as Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine, Dan Johnson and Matt Diaz. David Phelps will start and probably go two innings. Don't know who will follow him yet. Girardi will fill us in later.

Report: Pettitte to join Torre in WBC

January, 14, 2013
Team USA World Baseball Classic manager Joe Torre may be able to call on a familiar face during the tournament next month. Andy Pettitte will be on Torre's American team, according to CBS Sports.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman could not confirm if, in fact, Pettitte will be on the team.

"I don't even know if Andy is," Cashman said. "I haven't gotten the official list yet. I don't have the confirmation of any rosters yet. Whoever wants to play is allowed to play, obviously."

Mark Teixeira is also expected to be on the team, CBS said. Robinson Cano has indicated he will play for the Dominican team. Cano became an American citizen this offseason so technically he is eligible for the U.S. team, too. Cashman said the Yankees cannot keep players from participating in the tournament.

"No team has any say over that stuff unless the player is injured," Cashman said. "The WBC selection committee knows in advance what their eligible pool is."



Masahiro Tanaka
13 2.77 141 136
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146