Andy Pettitte will return to the Yankee Stadium mound on Sunday. To pitch. Well, kind of.
According to beat writer Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com, the 39-year-old left-hander will toss the ceremonial first pitch before the Yankees’ Game 2 matchup against the Tigers.
Pettitte, who hasn’t officially retired but sat out all of this season, has not made a public appearance at the Stadium since 2010. He’s dropped by the home clubhouse, but only for brief visits with old friends.
Pettitte reiterated to reporters in a short chat Saturday that he has no desire to return to professional baseball, and that he’s enjoying his retirement. But he also offered the old “never say never” cliche.
“There is no doubt, I’m standing right here, you miss it,” said Pettitte, talking in the Yankees’ dugout Saturday, a few hours before the resumption of Game 1. “You would love to be out there, whenever you get here and get around the environment. [But] the desire is not there. The same desire that made me go home is the same desire to play. Again, like I’ve said, unless God works a miracle and gives me that desire to do that, I don’t see any chance.”
Pettitte registered a 3.88 career ERA over 16 MLB seasons. He had a 3.83 career ERA in the playoffs.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.