A pair of pitching notes this morning. The Yankees are allowing Andy Pettitte to play in the World Baseball Classic this year. Pettitte will be joined by fellow Yankee Mark Teixeira as well as a plethora of other stars who will be managed by one Joe Torre. In other news, Javy Vazquez is getting a look from the Yankees as he works his way back to the major leagues. Vazquez has already had two tours of duty for the Yankees, with both not working out so well.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Andy Pettitte will join a star-studded lineup for the WBC. He will be accompanied by players such as Joe Mauer, Teixeira, Brandon Phillips, David Wright, Giancarlo Stanton, R.A. Dickey, Ryan Braun, Adam Jones, and Ryan Vogelsong, among others. It’s relatively surprising, given his age, that the Yankees allowed him to participate. He’s a 40+-year-old pitcher who came off an ankle injury that cost him two months last season. With the state of the rotation being good, but an injury away from being questionable, its worrisome that Pettitte is playing.
That being said, the WBC is a source of pride for many players, and I can definitely see the appeal, even being re-united with Joe Torre can make the decision easier. Another New York star, Mets third baseman David Wright, said it’s a feeling like no other playing in this tournament:
“After I got the chance to play a few years ago, I knew I wanted to participate again. The biggest reason is obviously the opportunity to represent your country and wear the uniform with USA across the chest. It’s an incredible feeling … Also, I get to be around some of the best players in the game for a few weeks. It’s a great atmosphere and I try to learn and pick up some things from those guys.”
In an equally surprising move, the Yankees are monitoring Javier Vazquez‘s starts down in winter league in Puerto Rico, according to Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe. Most likely the club is doing its due diligence, as his first two stints in pinstripes weren’t all that great. Subsequently, they were also his worst seasons in the major leagues.
In 2004 with the team, he pitched to a 4.91 ERA (4.51 xFIP) with the second worst K% of career (6.82) after averaging nearly 8.3 K% over his career. In a more recent stay, Vazquez was even worse, pitching to a 5.32 ERA (4.69 xFIP) with a 6.92 K% and became very home run prone (14% HR%). If anything he’d be a spot starter, which is probably not what he wants, and since he’s better suited for the National League, he’ll most likely latch onto one of the clubs in the senior circuit. No harm in some window shopping, right?