Well, the day has arrived.
Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte will take the mound Sunday afternoon in Baltimore for the first time since July 18, when he suffered a groin strain during a start against the Rays. He is expected to pitch on normal rest down the stretch and will have a spot in the Yanks’ October rotation unless something goes terribly wrong.
Pettitte, 38, had an 11-2 record, a 2.88 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP over 18 starts before going down. He has fanned 90 batters and walked just 38 in 115.2 innings.
If the veteran southpaw continues to cruise like he had been earlier this season, he will finish with a five-year low ERA and a five-year low WHIP. Pettitte inked a one-year, $11.75 million contract this past winter and has not committed to a plan for 2011.
Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.
Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.
The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.