05/13/12 6:29 PM ET
Anticipation turns to reality with Pettitte's return
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
Finally, the veteran left-hander was back in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse on Sunday to cap that comeback with his first start since Game 3 of the 2010 American League Championship Series. One year and 224 days have passed since he last toed the rubber in the Bronx, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi didn't see much of a change in the southpaw when he saw him Sunday.
"He looks like Andy," Girardi said. "I haven't noticed much of a change in him. He's doing his work like he always does on a day he starts."
Pettitte was activated Sunday afternoon with the third-highest win total of any pitcher in franchise history (203). He ranks second in total wins (240), starts (479) and strikeouts (2,251) among active Major League pitchers.
Pitcher Cody Eppley was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sunday afternoon to make room for Pettitte on the roster. Mariano Rivera was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
"I'm excited," Pettitte said earlier this week. "So excited to just get back in uniform and get back with the guys, and just hang with them on the bench and stuff like that. The fans [coming to see] me making my starts down in the Minor Leagues, that's just been awesome and stuff like that. It's time now."
Girardi said he would be pleased if Pettitte can give the Yankees six solid innings on Sunday, though he realizes it may be some time before Pettitte fully rounds into form.
Either way, the urgency for Pettitte to help the Yankees' rotation is not what it was just weeks ago. After each pitcher in the rotation dealt with some kind of troubles early in the year, the group entered Sunday with a 4-0 record and 1.31 ERA over the first five games of the current six-game homestand.
"I think that now that everyone's starting to throw the ball better, it takes a little pressure off of him," Girardi said. "I think people were looking at him coming back and being somewhat of a guy that can stabilize the rotation. Now, it looks like it's stabilizing more before he got here."
Girardi said he hopes to see Pettitte pitch at 88 mph early on this season, and hopes that Pettitte's adept ability to self correct on the mound will remain.
"He understands what he needs to do -- to get his sinker down, or to get more depth on his curveball," Girardi said. "I think he knows how to make those adjustments. The one thing I don't think he's forgotten how to do is how to pitch and how to make adjustments. I think adjustments, sometimes, as you get older are maybe a little bit easier because you've had to make them along the way."
Yanks sport pink for breast-cancer awareness
NEW YORK -- They only regret that they can't wear pink more often.
Several Yankees swung pink bats in support of breast-cancer awareness on Mother's Day, and two players -- Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher -- said they were thrilled to be a part of the endeavor. Both Granderson and Swisher, in fact, said they wished they could wear pink batting gloves.
"I definitely love it," said Granderson. "I wish we could wear everything, but there's a couple stipulations why we can't wear certain things. But the guys definitely showed their support for a great cause."
Both teams wore pink ribbons on their uniforms Sunday, and several players wore pink wristbands to recognize the holiday. Granderson said he would've been thrilled to wear a pink helmet and pink cleats in addition to the ribbon, but he had to find another way to get in style.
"There's certain [manufacturers] that are allowed and certain ones that aren't," he said. "Guys try to modify the way they can. Today, I was able to put in pink shoelaces, but I couldn't wear pink shoes."
Swisher concurred with Granderson, but he said the most important thing is that the players -- and the league itself -- are doing something to acknowledge people who can never get enough credit.
"I think it's one of the greatest things ever. For all the moms out there, they deserve it," said Swisher. "I think mothers are instrumental in so many people's lives, and for us to go and give them this day is special. It is their day, and for us to acknowledge it is great."
Jeter ties Yount for 16th on all-time hits list
NEW YORK -- With a ground-ball single in the eighth inning Sunday, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter passed Tony Gwynn and tied Robin Yount for 16th on baseball's all-time hits list.
Entering the game, Jeter was tied with Gwynn with 3,141 hits. Jeter and Yount both have 3,142 career hits, which is 10 shy of Paul Waner (15th, with 3,152) and 12 shy of George Brett (14th, with 3,154).
"I hadn't thought about it, we lost," Jeter said after the Yankees' 6-2 loss to Seattle. "You mention those guys -- guys that are two of the best players to ever play the game. It's humbling, but I really wasn't thinking about it much."
Jeter entered the day ranked first in baseball in hits and multihit games this season, second in batting average against left-handers, third in batting average and fifth in total bases.
He has 54 hits through 34 games, and is the first Yankees player to reach the 50-hit mark in the team's first 30 games of the season. Jeter is the Yankees' all-time hits leader.
Pettitte throws to Martin for first time in return
NEW YORK -- As Andy Pettitte takes the mound again for the Yankees on Sunday afternoon, much of what he sees will be familiar -- just about everything other than the man he's throwing to.
As Pettitte makes his first start since 2010, when he retired -- albeit temporarily -- in pinstripes, he'll be caught by Russell Martin, who became the Yankees' everyday catcher last season.
Manager Joe Girardi, who caught Pettitte during his own playing days from 1996-99, expects it to be a bit of a transition but nothing that either player can't handle.
"It's gonna take a little time," Girardi said. "To catch him on the side and have an idea of what he likes to do, then to catch him in the heat of the moment, that's a different story. Understanding what pitches he's better at making in the heat of the moment, that's something [Martin] will have to learn."
The Yankees entered Sunday having already used 14 pitchers this season and Girardi said the fact that Martin has been getting acclimated to new hurlers since he arrived in New York will serve him well while working with Pettitte.
"Russell needs to read what he's got, and I think he's pretty good at that," Girardi said. "And we'll go from there."