Friday notes: Andy’s back!
There was a game on Friday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, but very little of it was actually seen by the reporters covering the Yankees. News broke of Andy Pettitte’s return about 10 minutes before first pitch, as reported first by the YES Network’s Jack Curry, and the day was a whirlwind from there.
Phil Hughes understood; because of conflicting press conferences with Brian Cashman and Pettitte via conference call, it had been impossible to watch most of his four innings of work. Hughes didn’t seem initially thrilled by Pettitte’s return; he said all the right things, but the fact of the matter is that Pettitte’s return could be bad news for Hughes or Freddy Garcia.
“Everyone in here is excited for him to come back,” Hughes said. “You could tell when he was here that he wanted to come back. I think everyone kind of had an idea (Pettitte was coming) at some point – we didn’t know it was going to be the next week. It is what it is.”
CC Sabathia, whose spot is secure, offered the following take: “Well, hopefully everybody steps their game up and makes it a tough decision. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. Use that as a challenge to go out and make yourself better.”
Pettitte is expected to arrive in camp on Tuesday evening, and he said that he has nothing but total support from his biggest cheerleaders behind his change of heart.
“My family’s behind this 100 percent,” Pettitte said. “I’ve got a wife (Laura) of absolute gold. She looks at me and said, ‘I’m going to follow you, and whatever you think the best decision for us, I support you and I would love for you to do it if you want to do it.’ It makes my life easier, that’s for sure.”
What went right: Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer, his second of the spring. … Hughes scattered three hits with three strikeouts and no walks in four innings. He touched 93 mph … Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless fourth; Cesar Cabral and Chase Whitley also threw scoreless frames. … The Yankees walked off, pie-less, on Brandon Laird’s 10th inning sacrifice fly. … Jason Maxwell stole a base, his third. … Today was Curtis Granderson’s 31st birthday.
What went wrong: Fastball command was an issue for CC Sabathia, who allowed three runs and six hits in three innings. He served up a Steve Lombardozzi homer. … Raul Ibanez went 0-for-2 and is down to .077 this spring. … Andruw Jones went 0-for-2 and is hitting .095. … The Yankees made 14 cuts after the game. Manny Banuelos was among them.
What they said: “I went down to Spring Training and didn’t know if I would tell them or not. And I told Hal (Steinbrenner) and Cash, y’all told me to quit working out, but I’ve still been working out, and I’ve still been throwing, and I think I would love to play, man. They were like, ‘Oh my goodness. How are we going to work this out?’” – Pettitte
What’s next: Hiroki Kuroda will make his third start of the spring on Saturday as the Yankees host the Astros at Steinbrenner Field at 1:05 p.m. ET. Kuroda allowed two hits and two walks over three innings in his last start, striking out two and throwing 24 of his 42 pitches for strikes, and the right-hander said he didn’t have his best stuff. The 37-year-old said then that he is usually a slow starter in Spring Training.