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Pettitte Power: Surging Vet Sparks Yankees

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Pettitte Power: Surging Vet Sparks Yankees
(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

I hope you didn't buy what Andy Pettitte was selling last night in Baltimore.

Because, contrary to what the rejuvenated Texan may have said, he wanted to straight-up murder poor Jerry Hairston Jr.

Think about it. If your buddy misplayed a routine grounder that cost you a perfecto in wiffleball, you'd be beside yourself. Now picture it happening with two outs in the seventh inning of an actual game to the psychotically-intense Pettitte. Oh boy.

Poor Hairston already has to deal with never being good enough for dad...and now this?

Sometimes life isn't fair. Let's just hope that Hairston isn't soon on the wrong end of a hunting rifle and Pettitte the wrong end of a level-one felony charge because we need both of these guys.

Especially Pettitte, who, let's face it, has been the Yankees' second-best starter this season. How crazy is that?

The left-hander is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break and is 12-6 with a 4.03 ERA overall. He's on pace for another season of 200-plus innings and he says his body is feeling better than it has in years.

These are all stunning revelations when you remember where this guy was a year ago.

Pettitte seemed cooked by the end of last season. Like, well-done, burnt on both sides cooked. He was a .500 pitcher with a 4.54 ERA; a guy with a chronically tender elbow and a bum shoulder. He seemed primed for the requisite final season where the once-great pitcher dreadfully embarrasses himself—better known as The David Cone—before he headed off into the sunset.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Deer Park. Pettitte has somehow managed to sidestep a cruel demise, like he's been studying the ending of all 14 Final Destination movies.

He came back after an extended dance with the Yankees in the offseason, taking a steep paycut in the process. He was slated to be the No. 5 starter, a guy who could eat some innings, maybe win 10-12 games and keep his ERA around 4.50.

Instead, he leapfrogged over Chien-Ming Wang's decomposing corpse and both Good Joba and Bad Joba. Now, pitching his best baseball in years, is it that insane to think you'd rather have Pettitte in a big postseason spot over A.J. Burnett?

At 37, Pettitte is improbably an essential piece of the puzzle in the Yankees' drive for No. 27. Let's just hope he realizes the personal and team ramifications that would come with poisoning Jerry Hairston's coffee.

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