The Yankees have had four spring training games cancelled this year and three have had a direct impact on Andy Pettitte.
His first scheduled start, March 12 in Viera, against the Nationals was rained out and other rainouts forced Girardi to pitch Pettitte in an intra-squad game March 22 so the fifth-starter candidates could get innings.
Combining today’s shortened outing with his first spring start, March 17 in Clearwater against the Phillies, Pettitte has pitched five innings and thrown 63 pitches this spring in “real” games.
“I don’t even know what to say, it was a messed up day,” Pettitte said.
Damaso Marte started the game and was followed to the mound by Mariano Rivera and Boone Logan. With the field still playable and suddenly running out of pitchers, Joe Girardi sent Pettitte out for the fourth, a 1-2-3 inning. Naturally the rain got heavier and the tarp came out in the bottom of the fourth with the Yankees ahead 8-0.
Heavy rains were forecast for around the first inning and the storm was supposed to last about two hours, Girardi said.
"We didn't want to start him and not have him go an inning," Girardi said. "And then it kept getting moved back and at a certain point we had to pitch him because we had three relievers and him...We thought what was going to happen was we were going to play a couple innings and then have a long delay and then we were going to pitch him."
Girardi and Pettitte were both irritated, though Girardi said saving Pettitte's arm this spring could turn out to be a "blessing in disguise."
Pettitte agreed for the most part, saying his arm felt fine and that when his first regular season start, scheduled to be April 7 in Boston, comes around he’ll be set.
“I will be ready and there’s no excuses,” he said. “I feel like if they needed me to go right now and go pitch against Boston I’ll go pitch and battle my tail off.”
But he’d like to see hitters’ reactions in a game between now and then.
“I’d love to see how my changeup feels,” Pettitte said. “I know how it was against the Phillies but you’d like to see it some more, what a big league hitter’s going to do. I’d like to see how my ball’s cutting into to some of these righties and stuff like that.”
His final spring start is Friday against the Orioles and he’s supposed to throw about 60 pitches.
“I may feel like I need to throw 80 or so; that’ll be something I’m sure we’ll talk about during that start,” Pettitte said.
The his spring has gone, Pettitte felt the need to add: “If I get to pitch it.”