Today's rainout means Andy Pettitte won't make his first start of the spring until next Wednesday in Clearwater against the Phillies. He is the only Yankees' starter not to appear in a game this spring.
"I think a long time ago this would have worried me but now it’s like, whatever," Pettitte said. "You’re at the point where you know you just need to get your work in…It’s not facing hitters but it was good. I can put myself in a pretty good atmosphere even though it’s indoors right here."
Pettitte threw a three-inning simulated game indoors, with pitching coach Dave Eiland calling the balls and strikes and bullpen coach Mike Harkey standing at the plate impersonating the Phillies lineup. His catcher was Austin Romine.
“You’re trying to challenge him,” Eiland said. “You don’t want to just call balls and strikes, you kind of want to make it game-like. He may throw a pitch in certain count that would probably get a swing but I’m not going to give it to him. You have to make it a challenge. It can’t just be a go-through-the-motions thing.”
Though that's never a problem for Pettitte, or A.J. Burnett for that matter, who had to go the simulated game route Thursday when the game against the Braves was postponed.
“Andy gets after it, just like A.J. did last night,” Eiland said. “They let it fly. There’s no substitute for a real game but we want to make it as close as we can.”
Pettitte said the most important thing for him at this point of the spring isn't facing hitters but getting his "pitch sequence" down and continuing to build his arm strength.
"For me, it doesn’t matter who's standing in the batter’s box really," Pettitte said. "At a point in spring training, you want to see a couple of them just to say, ok, I can still get guys out. But for me, it’s spinning them, throwing my breaking ball, throwing my stuff making sure I’m hitting with it, [being] behind in the counts. I’m just at the stage emotionally where I’m not going to get overwhelmed when I’m in a regular game, where it’s going to change that much. So for me it’s just making sure I’m feeling comfortable with all my pitches and I really am."
*** Curtis Granderson was supposed to make his first start of the spring in left today so will probably do so tomorrow.
*** Eiland said Mariano Rivera and Damaso Marte will both make their spring training debuts Tuesday night at home against the Astros.
*** Joe Girardi said Phil Hughes will start Tuesday’s game while Joba Chamberlain will follow Pettitte Wednesday against the Phillies.
*** Eiland said it's way to early to call any one of the five pitchers contending for the fifth spot in the rotation the front runner.
“I don't think anybody's really pulled ahead," Eiland said. "Ace has thrown the ball extremely well but as of right now, if we had to pick, you really couldn’t pick one because they haven't been out there long enough. Sample’s not big enough."