The Yankees haven’t made a guess as to when Andy Pettitte will be ready to start a major league game. But we can probably rule out all of April.
The veteran left-hander told George King III of the New York Post on Saturday morning in Yankees camp that his legs “are not in shape” yet and that he must get them properly tuned up before he can progress to the next step in his throwing program.
So far, Pettitte has made it through two innings of simulated action. “The last thing I want to do is rush something,” he said Saturday. “At this point, it wouldn’t be smart. [The simulated game] was great, but it’s not a real game. It’s still not another team.’’
Pettitte signed a minor league contract with the Yankees in mid-March. He sat out the entire 2011 season after posting an 11-3 record, 3.28 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 101/41 K/BB ratio across 129 innings in 2010.
Last week it was widely speculated that Shohei Otani, the highly-touted Japanese pitcher/designated hitter who stars for the Nippon Ham Fighters, would not come to the United States to play due to changes in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The upshot: the new CBA caps money available to international free agents under age 25 at $5-6 million and Otani, 22, would be worth way more than that, so why take the pay cut?
Now, however, Jeff Passan of Yahoo reports that the Fighters are set to post Shotei Otani following the 2017 season. Passan says that his sources have told him that there are potential ways around the limit on spending for under-25 players like Shohei Otani and he links a Japanese article from Sponichi which says the Fighters would post him after the 2017 season.
It’d be interesting to see what that loophole is. Without knowing the exact terms of the CBA on this score it’s impossible to know, but one possibility is that there are different rules applicable to those with professional experience in other countries as opposed to amateur free agents.
Whatever the case, the notion that we could see Otani in the U.S. at age 23 or 24 is pretty exciting.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.