Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cause For Concern

Beyond impending suspensions, we have some cause for concern this morning. It's certainly not enough to start sounding the alarms yet, but enough to keep us a bit anxious until Monday.

As you've likely heard by now, Andy Pettitte will be skipped tonight due "shoulder fatigue" and will not start again until Monday, ten days after his previous outing. Pettitte said the shoulder gave him problems in his start last Friday, but he did throw a bullpen this past Monday and said he felt fine. He will throw again this Friday. Joe Girardi said he was confident that rest would do the trick.

This shouldn't be a big deal. Andy Pettitte is 37 years old. His left arm has logged close to 3,000 Major League innings, including 178.1 this year and 204+ in each of the previous four seasons. His arm has a history of getting "cranky" from time to time. It's late in the season and the Yankees have a relatively comfortable lead in every important race. There's no point in rushing him back out there and every reason to give him a little extra rest if needed.

However, it was a problem with his throwing shoulder that hampered Pettitte through a miserable second half last season. The second half this year has seen Pettitte be the Yanks' second best starter behind CC. Given his October pedigree, his performance over the past couple months, and the struggles of both A.J. Burnett and Joba Chamberlain over the past six weeks, Pettitte is being counted upon in a big way for the post-season. Beyond that, we don't even want to consider the implications of Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre having to slot into the four spot in the rotation.

With any luck, this will play out just the way that Girardi and Pettitte think it will and Andy will start Monday and be fine. If this the biggest thing Yankee fans have to worry about this month it's probably a good thing. But until then, this is a potential turd in the punch bowl.

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