After throwing 55 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday, Andy Pettitte, who has missed 2 1/2 months with a fractured ankle, said he’s ready to start for the Yankees next week.
“I did everything I needed to do. I felt good. It’s another step,” he said. “They felt like my stuff was great. I just don’t know what the next step is, hopefully I’ll get back in the rotation. That’s what I want to do.”
If it were June instead of September, the next step would be two or three minor league rehab starts. That’s not a possibility now, though. Odds are that he’ll rejoin the rotation next week and throw 60-70 pitches in his first start, with David Phelps ready to replace him come the fourth or fifth inning.
“He means a lot to this club. We’ve seen that. We saw that a lot the first time,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We went on quite a roll. If they deem he’s ready to move around like he has to, he’ll be out there.”
Free agent middle infielder Danny Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays, the team announced Saturday. The deal includes an invite to spring training, where Espinosa is scheduled for his first split-squad game against the Orioles this afternoon.
Espinosa, 30, was inked to another minor-league deal with the Yankees in January. The veteran infielder was competing for an infield job until the team picked up second baseman Neil Walker on a one-year, $4 million deal last Monday. Prior to his release, he slashed .160/.276/.320 with one home run through his first 12 games with the Yankees this spring. He didn’t fare much better in the majors last year, either, batting a cumulative .173/.245/.278 with six home runs and a .523 OPS in 295 PA for the Mariners and Rays.
Blue Jays starting shortstop Troy Tulowitzki is still dealing with a bone spur in his heel and has officially been ruled out for Opening Day, which could clear a path for Espinosa to claim a starting role in Toronto. Of course, he won’t be the only candidate under consideration — Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz are still in the mix as well, though no final decision appears to be made just yet.