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.
Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.
Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.
While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.