March 27, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees hall of famer Reggie Jackson talks with starting pitcher Andy Pettitte (46) as they watch the game in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

The Andy Effect

The big storyline around the Yankees has centered on the starting pitching situation. Andy Pettitte is back with the team and no he is not in George Steinbrenner’s box just yet. However, with the season just over a week away, I have been more focused on how the other pitchers will perform knowing Andy is on the horizon rather than focusing on #46. By the way, he should likely be making his 2012 debut on April 4th at GMS Field against the New York Mets, according to report from Daily News’ writer Mark Feinsand.

Phil Hughes has now been granted a spot in the starting rotation. Hughes has definitely earned the spot from his performance in Spring Training (0-1, 2.03 ERA). What has impressed me about his efforts is that in 13.1 innings, he has only given up three runs on eleven hits. I do think it is a little premature to hand him the job before guys like Ivan Nova or Michael Pineda, but it is understandable because New York is trying to avoid messing with his head after they did that with Joba Chamberlain.

The one pitcher I think this could affect is Ivan Nova. Nova had a great season and is still, in my estimation, the number two starter in this rotation. SuperNova has a 6.56 ERA this Spring Training and has given up fifteen runs in almost twenty innings of work. He is such a gamer that he won’t admit that maybe the fact that one pitcher will have to leave the rotation when Andy is back could be affecting him. The positive though with Nova’s spring training is that he has only walked one batter in his five starts.

Of course, if you can bring Andy Pettitte back to the Yankees, then you do it if you think he has anything left in the tank. However, as the early months of the season begin, I will be interested in seeing on how guys like Hughes, Nova, and Pineda continue to progress in hopes of maintaining their rotation spot when the Yankee great returns.

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