Andy Pettitte took the mound for an inning against the Mets in his spring debut Wednesday and retired three of the four hitters he faced, allowing just a single in the process.
“It felt good to be able to get out there and get the inning in, especially in a big league game” he said. “It definitely felt a little weird, there’s no doubt about it. Once I got out there, it was just like you never left. It was fun.”
Pettitte received a standing ovation while coming out to pitch the sixth inning. Prospect Cory Vaughn led off the frame with a hit, but Pettitte was able to work around it.
“Obviously, anytime you get fans to cheer for you, that’s a good thing,” he said. “It’s all coming back. I feel like the stuff is there. I just have to build stamina.”
Pettitte, attempting a comeback after a brief one-year retirement, is expected to spend the next month working his way through the Yankees’ minor league system. If all goes well, he could join the rotation at the beginning of May.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.