Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pettitte's Return Crowds Yankee Rotation

When the Yankees traded A.J. Burnett to the Pirates on February 18, their rotation calculus appeared simple; CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Hiroki Kuroda would hold down the top four spots in some order, and Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia would battle for the remaining opening. Well, consider that equation confounded. Andy Pettitte, third on the Yankees all-time wins list and owner of five World Series rings, will abandon his year-old retirement, returning to the Bronx for $2.5 million over one year. It's yet to be seen whether Pettitte is capable of pitching at a high level after a year away from the diamond, but the left-hander wouldn't be back if he didn't think he could perform. For the Yankees, this means three starters pursuing one rotation spot, and Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman and co. will need not only to choose a fifth starter but to determine if/where to stow the other two in case of injury. We'll be watching the delicate situation carefully, but, as the adage goes, you can never have too much pitching, and when a borderline Hall-of-Famer and franchise legend comes asking for a job at a bargain-basement price, no one will fault you for enlisting him.

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