Jorge Posada “wouldn’t be surprised” if Andy Pettitte returns

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Andy Pettitte announced his retirement on February 2, but today Jorge Posada told Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if his longtime batterymate reconsidered and returned to the Yankees at some point in 2011.

Or course, Wallace also writes that Posada “admitted he had no real reason for believing Pettitte might change his mind” and is basing it mostly off his knowledge of Pettitte’s “competitive nature.”

Here’s more from Posada:

I just know how much Andy loves to compete. Andy’s a competitor, and that’s the thing you miss. Hopefully, we’ll see him again. It would be nice to see him come back.

However, before Yankees fans get too excited, Posada also told Matthews that Pettitte seemed “at peace with his decision” based on text messages they exchanged, saying: “It seemed like he had made his decision and he was OK with it.”

It’s tough to tell how much of Posada’s comments are wishful thinking, but either way I’m sure there will be Pettitte-related storylines throughout the first half, particularly if the back of the Yankees’ rotation struggles.

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.