As one veteran has faltered of late, the New York Yankees are hoping another can deliver in his return.
Owning a 10-game lead atop the AL East at one point, it could have been argued the Yankees (83-63) might not have missed the 40-year-old left-hander that much after he suffered a fractured ankle on a line drive off the bat of Cleveland's Casey Kotchman on June 27.
But with CC Sabathia losing three of his last four starts as New York clings to a one-half game division lead, Pettitte (3-3, 3.22 ERA) will be thrown right into the mix after throwing 55 pitches in a simulated game last Tuesday.
"I'm going to go out there, hope I can get in a good rhythm, have my command and I'll throw the ball well," Pettitte told the team's official website Monday. "If I don't, if I'm walking guys and my command isn't good, I'm going to get hit, I'm going to get knocked around. That's just the way it is.
"Even though I've been out a couple months, I know what to expect, and the Blue Jays are going to be ready for it. I'm looking forward to it being a battle, and I feel like I'm ready for that physically and mentally."
Pettitte did not face the Blue Jays this year before getting hurt. He is 21-12 versus Toronto - his second-most victories against any team - but is only 6-7 in 19 home starts.
The Yankees seem to have found some solid footing of late, taking two of three from both Boston and Tampa Bay, capped by a 6-4 victory over the Rays on Sunday when Russell Martin 's three-run homer highlighted a five-run third.
While the Yankees are counting on Pettitte, the only thing the Blue Jays (66-79) could count on with Romero (8-14, 5.87) over the past two-plus months has been losses.
Many, many losses.
The left-hander is 0-13 with a 7.91 ERA in 14 starts since beating Miami on June 22, and his losing streak has tied a club record established by Tom Underwood from Aug. 28, 1978-June 10, 1979. New York has made a significant contribution to Romero's stretch of misery, giving him three of those defeats by reaching him for 11 runs in 20 innings.
Romero's woes continued versus Seattle on Wednesday, when he allowed three runs and eight hits with four walks and was pulled after four-plus innings in a 3-2 defeat. Despite the ongoing futility, manager John Farrell refuses to give up on the pitcher who won 42 games his first three years in the majors.
"We're not abandoning Ricky Romero ," Farrell said. "We're going to continue to work with him, we're going to continue to finish this year on a positive note and that is our intent going forward."
Romero is trying to avoid becoming the first pitcher to lose 14 consecutive decisions as a starter in a single season since Mike Parrott did so with the Mariners in 1980, accomplishing that dubious feat in 15 starts spanning April 15-Sept. 13, 1980.
Curtis Granderson , whose next home run will make him the first Yankee outfielder to have back-to-back 40-homer seasons since Mickey Mantle in 1960-61, is 4 for 21 with one home run and eight strikeouts versus Romero. Jayson Nix , though, is 7 for 12 with a double.
The Blue Jays will be without shortstop Yunel Escobar after the team suspended him for three games Tuesday for wearing eye-black displaying a homophobic slur written in Spanish during Saturday's game against Boston.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|September 16, 2012||Edwin Encarnacion||Day-to-Day||Sore right big toe|
|September 04, 2012||J.A. Happ||15-Day DL||Fractured right foot|
|August 27, 2012||Henderson Alvarez||Day-to-Day||Left game - left shin contusion|
|August 27, 2012||Aaron Laffey||Day-to-Day||Left game - left calf contusion|
|August 26, 2012||Jose Bautista||15-Day DL||Left wrist inflammation|
|August 23, 2012||David Cooper||15-Day DL||Upper back soreness|
|New York Yankees|
|September 09, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|September 02, 2012||Curtis Granderson||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring tendinitis|
|August 27, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Strained left calf|
|August 22, 2012||Ivan Nova||15-Day DL||Right shoulder tightness|
|August 22, 2012||Ivan Nova||15-Day DL||Right shoulder tightness|
|August 17, 2012||Mark Teixeira||Day-to-Day||Sore left wrist|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Andy Pettitte waited quite a while to get back on the mound for the New York Yankees .
Because of shaky weather, Pettitte got pushed back again.
The game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Yankees scheduled for Tuesday night was postponed because of all-day dampness.
The teams will play a day-night doubleheader Wednesday, with Pettitte starting the opener at 1:05 p.m. and the second game at 7:05 p.m.
"I would have loved to throw today and have no rain. I'm just ready to get out there," Pettitte said.
Pettitte has been out since a line drive by Cleveland's Casey Kotchman broke his left leg near the ankle on June 27. At the time, the 40-year-old lefty was expected to miss at least six weeks.
Pettitte's injury took longer to heal, however, and he became more and more antsy to get back out on the mound. Especially with the Yankees in a pennant race, having started the day with a half-game lead over Baltimore in the AL East.
Another day, another delay. Rather than being in the middle of the diamond, Pettitte threw under the stands as the rain fell.
"It's kind of par for the course for Andy," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I'm sure for him it's not the best thing."
Girardi said it was easily determined whether Pettitte (3-3) or rookie David Phelps (4-4) would pitch the first game or the nightcap.
"Andy, you kind of give him his choice," Girardi said. "So that was the process."
Pettitte will probably throw between 70-75 pitches, Girardi said. It could be a few more if, for example, Pettitte is pitching well and a left-handed hitter is leading off the next inning.
The postponement probably leaves Pettitte with only three possible starts in the regular season as he tries to prepare for the playoffs.
Henderson Alvarez (9-12) will start the opener for Toronto. Ricky Romero (8-14) will follow, trying to end his 13-game losing streak that ties a Blue Jays record set by Tom Underwood in 1978-79.
A light rain fell and brisk winds whipped the flags above the ballpark when the game was called about three hours before it was supposed to start. Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes and players from both sides tossed balls in the outfield after it was postponed.
As night came, the rain and winds picked up and a few tractors were put on the tarpaulin to keep it from blowing around. The expected severe weather was supposed to clear out in time for Wednesday afternoon's first pitch.
NOTES: OF Brett Gardner could be activated from the disabled list this week to give the Yankees a strong defensive replacement and a speedy pinch runner. He been sidelined since April 18 with a strained right elbow that required surgery in July, and he's not able to hit. Girardi said Gardner hasn't been ruled off the postseason roster if the Yankees reach the playoffs.