Andy Pettitte’s return has everyone excited. Well, almost everyone.
When reached for comment, Phil Hughes, who may be ticketed to the pen or to the minors as a result of the Pettitte signing, offered the classically passive-aggressive “is what it is.” Though to be fair it was surrounded by some more diplomatic noises.
But there was one guy who was a bit more obviously peeved: Freddy Garcia.
As we mentioned on Friday, Garcia is likely the odd man out in the Yankees pitching plan. And Garcia seems particularly underwhelmed, bordering on grumpy, about the idea of Pettitte being back in pinstripes. From Marc Carig’s report in the Star-Ledger:
“I don’t really care,” Garcia said, when asked about Pettitte’s return. “That’s their decision. I’m here to pitch and that’s what I want to do.”
When asked if Pettitte’s addition was good for the team, Garcia threw his hands up, seemingly exasperated by the turn of events.
“I don’t know man,” said Garcia, who like Hughes a day before, gave a lukewarm reaction. “Ask the people. I don’t know. I guess …You play with the Yankees, nothing surprises you.”
Garcia’s exasperation is perhaps understandable. But given how much love there is for Andy Pettitte in both the fan base and in some quarters of the New York sporting press, he’s not going to win any popularity contests if he’s noticeably angry about this.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.