Andy Pettitte is “pretty much healed” and open to pitching next season

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Andy Pettitte is no sure thing to pitch again this season following a recent setback with his broken ankle, but the 40-year-old sounds like someone planning to pitch in 2013.

Asked if he’d rule out coming back for another season, Pettitte told Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York:

No, I wouldn’t. I mean, I’ll go home again and talk to my family about it and pray about it and really I’ll do what I feel like is the right thing to do. I really can’t tell you right now that there’s no way I’m [not] going to play.

Performance-wise coming back should be a no-brainer, as Pettitte was fantastic before the fluke injury with a 3.22 ERA and 59/15 K/BB ratio in 59 innings. He basically picked up right where he left off before retiring.

As for this season, Pettitte said: “I’m pretty much healed. Now it’s just a matter of not having a setback, you know?”

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.