Andy Pettitte almost ready to face live hitters

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Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York has the update:

Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte threw a 35-pitch bullpen session off the mound on Sunday, and says he feels like he’s “over the hump.”

Pettitte, on the disabled list since June 27 with a fractured left ankle, came out of the session “feeling good” and said his command was good as well.

The veteran southpaw told reporters after Sunday’s workout that he wants to throw live batting practice “as quick as possible,” and manager Joe Girardi later suggested that it could happen within the next three days if there are no issues with lingering soreness.

Petttitte is still on track to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation by the middle of September. He had a 3.22 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 59/15 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings before fracturing his left ankle near the end of June.

Braves release James Loney

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Just a few days after inking him to a minor league deal, the Braves have released first baseman James Loney, the team announced on Monday. Loney became expendable when the Braves acquired Matt Adams from the Cardinals on Saturday as a replacement for the injured Freddie Freeman.

Loney, 33, appeared in two games at Triple-A Gwinnett. He had one hit, a single, and one walk in eight plate appearances.

Loney will likely have to wait for another team to deal with an injured first baseman or DH before he can secure another contract.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.