Andy Pettitte gives up five runs in Triple-A start

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Making his first Triple-A start since beginning his comeback, Andy Pettitte gave up five runs — three earned — and eight hits in five innings Sunday against the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Pettitte wasn’t helped by his defense in the game. First baseman Steve Pearce dropped a foul popup on the very first play of the game, and Pedro Ciriaco went on to hit a double in the at-bat, starting a two-run inning that Pettitte only got out of by picking off Lars Anderson at first base. There was another error in the second.

The 39-year-old Pettitte did end the outing by retiring the final five hitters he faced. He threw 59 of his 92 pitches for strikes.

Pettitte has now made four minor league starts and given up 10 runs — seven earned — in 17 innings overall. He’s struck out 13 and walked three. His pitch count is built up to the point that he’s now a viable option for the Yankee rotation. However, given his mediocre showing today, it’d probably make sense to give him one more Triple-A start.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.