Wednesday, February 20, 2013
TAMPA - One year ago, Andy Pettitte came to Spring Training as a guest instructor. As Pettitte stood near the first base dugout at Steinbrenner Field and discussed his new role, he looked as athletic as ever. Pettitte looked like someone who could still pitch. Soon, very soon, we all learned that he could.
That gig as an instructor didn’t last too long for Pettitte. He came out of retirement about three weeks later to pitch for the Yankees and he is back again in 2013. When Pettitte pitched in 2012, which was only for 75 1/3 innings because of a broken fibula, he was very good. This season, Pettitte expects to be just as reliable.
For Pettitte, being a 40-year old pitcher trumps being a 30-year old pitcher since he suggested that he is a better pitcher than he was a decade ago. Pettitte, who is excited about the baseball detour that took him from retired instructor to dependable starting pitcher (again) has lofty goals. He stressed that he wants to stay healthy, make each of his starts and also log at least 200 innings.
“Heck, I want to win 20 games,” Pettitte added. “That’s what I want.”
I’m hoping Pettitte can pitch 150 innings this year, and that’s what my projections are estimating. It’d be great if he could get up to 175 innings, something that’s been done 96 times by a pitcher aged 40 or older. That last happened in 2008 when four pitchers did it (Greg Maddux, Tim Wakefield, Jamie Moyer and Randy Johnson). It’s probably worth mentioning that none of the pitchers who achieved a 175 inning season at age 40 or older threw fewer than 152 innings in their ages 38 and 39 seasons.