Andy Pettitte still has some hurdles to cross before rejoining the Yankees, but he’s finally moving in the right direction.
According to the Associated Press, Pettitte threw off a mound this afternoon for the first time since fracturing his left ankle on a comebacker on June 27. The 40-year-old southpaw told Spencer Fordin of MLB.com that it wasn’t a “hard” bullpen and that he didn’t fully exert himself, but that it was a relief to get it out of the way.
“It was huge,” said Pettitte. “I’m sure that you guys talking to me could tell that I was getting a little paranoid about how this thing’s going to feel. Today was good. I didn’t get out there and push off as hard as I could and let it fly, but I was just introducing myself back to the mound. I felt really comfortable, so that was a good thing. And my arm felt just free and easy. That was another good thing.”
Pettitte will check in with the team’s training staff before the next step is decided, but he’s hoping to make two starts before the end of the regular season. He had an excellent 3.22 ERA and 59/15 K/BB ratio in 59 innings before the injury and has already said that he’s open to pitching again in 2013.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.