Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte nearing spring debuts

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Yankees Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte will each make their Grapefruit League debuts within the next week. Jeter, recovering from left ankle surgery that ended his season abruptly in the 2012 American League Championship Series, received the thumbs-up from his doctor. His debut could come as early as Sunday against the Blue Jays. Manager Joe Girardi plans to use him as a designated hitter:

“I’m OK with that,” Girardi said. “I won’t be giving him any must-go’s, those type of things. So I’ll see how he feels and go from there.

Jeter, turning 39 years old at the end of June, hit .316 during the regular season, leading the league in hits and plate appearances.

As for Pettitte, the lefty could make his debut on Wednesday against the Phillies. He missed time between late June and mid-September due to a fractured fibula and has been working during the off-season to get back into starting shape. Pettitte:

“Hoping to be able to get into a game now. I feel really good. Hopefully we’ll get into a game the next time. Everything’s feeling good.”

He posted a 2.87 ERA over his 12 starts and the 40-year-old hopes to build on that as he enters his 18th Major League season.

Umpire admits he blew the call that got Joe Maddon ejected last night

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Last night in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game, Curtis Granderson struck out. Or, at the very least, he should’ve. After the game, the umpire who said he didn’t admitted he screwed up.

While trying to squelch a Dodgers comeback, Wade Davis got Granderson into a 2-2 count. Davis threw his pitch, Granderson whiffed on it, it hit the dirt, and Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out. End of the inning, right? Wrong: Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, Wolf, after conferring with the other umps agreed, and Granderson lived to see another pitch.

Before he’d see that pitch, Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and got so agitated about it all he was ejected for the second time in this series. He was right to argue:

It all ended up not mattering, of course, because Granderson struck out eventually anyway.

Normally such things end there, but after the game a reporter got to Wolf and Wolf did something umpires don’t often do: he admitted he blew the call:

It’s good that the bad call ended up not affecting anything. But the part of me who likes to stir up crap and watch chaos rule in baseball really kinda wishes that Granderson had hit a series-clinching homer right after that. At least as long as it didn’t result in Cubs fans burning Chicago to the ground.