The New York Yankees already got one starter back this week with the return of Ivan Nova to the rotation.
By next week, they could be getting a huge uplift to their rotation if Andy Pettitte is ready to return to the team.
According to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, Pettitte feels like he could be ready to come back after throwing 55 pitches in a simulated game held at Fenway Park in Boston before Wednesday night's game. Pettitte doesn't feel like he could give them 90-100 pitches, but if he were to pitch five days from now, he could give the Yankees anywhere from 60-65 pitches with David Phelps ready to pitch in relief just in case.
If in fact Pettitte is ready to go five days after throwing this latest simulated game, that puts him on target to start Tuesday at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Yankees have toyed around with the idea of bringing Pettitte back before being fully stretched out, and according to Yankees manager Joe Girardi, it all depends on how he feels after pitching on Wednesday, according to Mike Axisa of RiverAveBlues.com:
It depends on how his leg feels after 60 pitches (today). If we feel he can move around and compete enough in a game, it's conceivable.
Pettitte is 3-3 and has a 3.22 ERA with 59 strikeouts in 58.2 innings. He made nine starts before he suffered a fractured fibula against the Cleveland Indians after he took a line drive off his ankle.
When initially injured the diagnosis was 6-8 weeks, but Pettitte has been out going over the two-month mark now. As long as the team doctors feel that his ankle is ready to go, though, his return would be a major uplift to a team that needs it.
The Yankees have had to deal with injuries all season long. In addition to Pettitte's ankle injury, they are without Mariano Rivera for the season, Alex Rodriguez just returned from a broken hand and Mark Teixeira is out with a calf injury.
The Yankees are desperately trying to hold on as the 2012 season ends; they enter Wednesday night's game tied for first with the Baltimore Orioles. Adding Pettitte back to a team that needs some spark and resurgence definitely could be the thing the Bombers need with less than three weeks to go.
Of course, his fate is in the doctors' hands, but with all of the latest signs being encouraging to everyone, it's looking like the Yankees will see Pettitte back pitching in the Bronx.
Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.
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