5 Reasons New York Yankees Are Better off with Andy Pettitte Back in Pinstripes

Colton Kokrda@kokrdaCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2012

5 Reasons New York Yankees Are Better off with Andy Pettitte Back in Pinstripes

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    Last week, Andy Pettitte shocked the baseball universe when he announced that he was coming out of retirement and signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the New York Yankees.

    This signing has received various types of reviews from the media, with some people hating and others loving the signing.

    Adding the presence of Andy Pettitte to the Yanks starting mix can only make the team better.

    Here are five reasons why.

No. 5: He Adds Veteran Presence

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    Having Pettitte return to the Yankees this season gives them some more experience in the pitching front.

    Prior to his signing, the starting rotation was starting to look like it would only have two veterans in CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, with the other three spots going to sophomores Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda and young pitcher Phil Hughes.

    Now that Pettitte is back in pinstripes, once he is able to join the major league squad, he will likely take the position of one of the younger pitchers.

No. 4: It Takes Pressure off the Young Pitchers in Rotation

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    Brian Cashman has been saying all offseason that Yankee fans should tame their expectations for Pineda this season.

    Pineda is entering his second year in the majors, and while he has a very high cieling, he still has room to improve his game and will likely experience some growing pains. Not to mention he is joining the toughest division in baseball.

    Yankee fans already have unreasonably high expectations for Pineda due to the Yankees trading the beloved Jesus Montero for him.

    Enter Andy Pettitte.

    Once Pettitte joins the major league roster, he will instantly slide into the No. 3 slot in the rotation behind Sabathia and Kuroda. This would put Pineda as the fourth starter and either Nova or Hughes as the fifth.

    As a No. 4 starter, Pineda will still get the innings he needs to be competitive and grow into the ace he is expected to be. He will still face the tough teams of the AL East.

    However, he will also have a lot of the pressure taken off of him and will likely face up against the bottom half of opponents' rotations, which will usually result in more run support for him and more wins.

No. 3: He Is a Leader in the Clubhouse

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    According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, when current Yankees were asked about Pettitte's return, most of them expressed excitement.

    Derek Jeter stated, "It's great. Andy's done a lot for the organization; all the guys love him. He'll add to our team on the field and off the field."

    Alex Rodriguez said, "We're the fortunate ones he missed it. We missed him, and we're very happy to have him back."

    Outfielder Nick Swisher praised him not only for his on-field contributions and success, but for his character off the field.

    "He's everything that you want to be in a ballplayer. Not only does he have the amazing career numbers... but he's an amazing man. He's a great father. He's a great husband. All those amazing things that he has, that's somebody you want to look up to."

    That kind of player is always a positive influence in the clubhouse. It's no secret that teams that have a good atmosphere in the clubhouse generally perform better, and adding someone with Pettitte's reputation will only help the Yankees clubhouse get better.

    It especially helps that Pettitte made great friends during his tenure as a Yankee and will be reunited with them for another shot at the World Series title.

No. 2: He Has a Fresh Arm

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    Pettitte did not pitch at all last season.

    That means his arm has had a full year to recover a little bit from the minor elbow issues he was dealing with his last time around in pinstripes.

    One of the best remedies for injuries is to just let time work its magic and let the body heal itself. With taking off a year of pitching, Pettitte has essentially done just that.

    After his bullpen session yesterday, Pettitte said that his elbow feels great. He is just focusing on strengthening his legs more to prevent any nagging injuries during the season.

No. 1: He Has a Lot of Experience in the Postseason

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    For a team that is an annual contender for the World Series, having players that can step up when it counts in the postseason is critical.

    When looking for those with experience, you can't get much more experienced than Andy Pettitte.

    Pettitte has started 42 games in the postseason and holds a 19-10 record for his career in the postseason. Tossing 263 innings over those 42 starts, he holds a career 3.83 ERA with 72 walks and 173 strikeouts. That's a 2.46 BB/9 and a 2.4 K/BB ratio.

    The last year Pettitte pitched in the playoffs, in 2010, he held hitters to a .200 batting average over two starts.

    His postseason track record is a huge boost to the Yankees rotation this season.