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.
The Braves have signed former football player and current outfielder Sanders Commings, an Augusta, Georgia native, to a minor league contract, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Commings, 26, was a defensive back who played for the University of Georgia before being selected by the Chiefs in the fifth round of the 2013 draft. He appeared in two games in the 2013 season.
Commings also played baseball for Westside High School and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 37th round of the 2008 draft. He chose to attend the University of Georgia instead. When football didn’t pan out, Commings started training with Jerry Hairston, Jr. Hairston said he was “blown away” when he saw Commings hit for the first time.
Obviously, Commings’ path to success as a professional baseball player will be long, but it’s a no-risk flier for the Braves. The club has past experience with football players, including Deion Sanders and Brian Jordan.
The next task for the Braves will be to acquire Ryan Goins from the Blue Jays. That way, players will look at the lineup card each day to see if it’s Commings or Goins.
On Thursday afternoon, Rays pitcher Chris Archer asked his Twitter followers, “Lots swirling around what needs to be changed about the game of baseball. What do y’all want to see changed, if anything, & why?”
Tigers ace Justin Verlander responded:
To that, Archer said:
For what it’s worth, Verlander hasn’t been much of a hitter. In 47 career plate appearances, he has three singles and no extra-base hits. And if the AL did get rid of the DH rule, the Tigers would have nowhere to put Victor Martinez. Verlander, though, would have an easier time pitching to opposing pitchers rather than their DH’s.