Pettitte Prepped For ReturnFriday, September 14, 2012
Thursday was a pretty good day for the Yankees. In addition to getting 7 1/3 shutout innings from Phil Hughes to top the Red Sox and keep pace with the upstart Orioles, Andy Pettitte received clearance to return from the disabled list to start Tuesday against the Blue Jays.
Pettitte has been sidelined since June 27 with a fractured left ankle. The 40-year-old southpaw didn't make a rehab start since the minor league season is over, but he declared himself ready to return after throwing 55 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday. He will be limited to around 75 pitches in his first start back, but he currently projects to make four starts -- 9/18 vs. TOR, 9/23 vs. OAK, 9/28 at TOR and 10/3 vs. BOS -- before the end of the regular season.
Pettitte's comeback was off to a great start prior to the injury, as he had a 3.22 ERA and 59/15 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings over nine starts. I'd be hesitant to trust him right out of the gate in fantasy leagues, especially if you are in the middle of the playoffs or are watching your innings pitched limits, but he is absolutely worth stashing in a DL-spot wherever available.
Don't Nap on Napoli
Some fantasy owners will get a nice boost to their lineups this weekend, as Mike Napoli is expected to return from the disabled list after missing a month with a strained left quadriceps muscle.
Napoli is 1-for-6 with a home run over two rehab games with Double-A Frisco this week and hasn't had any setbacks while catching 15 innings. The current plan calls for him to serve as the designated hitter on Friday night before being activated Saturday.
Napoli naturally entered this season with some pretty big expectations after batting .320 with 30 homers and a 1.046 OPS last year, so it's fair to call his .223/.343/.429 batting line and .771 OPS a disappointment, but he's still eighth among all fantasy catchers with 17 homers despite appearing in just 92 games. Granted, seven of those home runs came in April, but he should be able to help in all formats if he's finally feeling healthy.
What's Up With King Felix?
Felix Hernandez's recent funk continued Thursday against the Blue Jays, as he was roughed up for seven runs on 10 hits and a walk over just 4 2/3 innings. The seven earned runs allowed tied a career-high.
Hernandez has now lost three straight starts while allowing 16 runs in 16 innings. Just to put things into perspective, he allowed a total of 16 runs in his previous 13 starts from June 23 to August 27. He has also served up three homers in his past two starts after giving up just two in his previous 16 starts. While King Felix led the American League with a 2.43 ERA at the end of August, it now sits at 2.92 on the year.
Hernandez has thrown a major-league high 212 2/3 innings this season and he also struggled a bit down the stretch last year as his innings mounted, but I'm willing to chalk this up to a blip. Bold statement, I know. But this is King Felix we're talking about here. Don't even think about benching him now. While his case for his second Cy Young Award has clearly taken a hit, fantasy owners have no choice but to start him next Tuesday against the Orioles at Safeco Field and hope for the best.
NL Quick Hits: After telling the Los Angeles Times that he "wasn't asked" about the shutdown of Stephen Strasburg, Dr. Lewis Yocum clarified Thursday afternoon that he was involved in the plan and has maintained dialogue with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and the team's doctors this season … Kenley Jansen (heart) is aiming to return Tuesday … Jed Lowrie delivered a pinch-hit go-ahead two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night to help end the Phillies' seven-game winning streak … Bud Norris won't start Friday due to a blister on the middle finger of his right hand … Marco Scutaro is interested in returning to the Giants next season … Lance Lynn made a spot-start Thursday against the Dodgers and tossed six innings of one-run ball for his 15th win of the season … The Astros interviewed Nationals third base coach Bo Porter for their manager job on Thursday … Ramon Hernandez tore his left distal hamstring tendon Monday and will undergo season-ending surgery next week … Mat Gamel (knee) will not participate in the Arizona Fall League …
AL Quick Hits: Josh Hamilton got an injection in his left knee on Wednesday night and is expected to return Friday … After an MRI didn't show any structural damage in his shoulder, Adrian Beltre went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored Thursday against the Indians … Edwin Encarnacion hit his 40th home run of the season Thursday … Dustin Pedroia will rejoin the Red Sox this weekend in Toronto following the birth of his child… Jered Weaver (biceps tendinitis) tossed seven shutout innings Thursday in a win over the Athletics … Joe Mauer (back) could return this weekend … Manny Machado delivered a walk-off RBI single in the 14th inning vs. the Rays to clinch the Orioles' first non-losing season since 1997 … Thursday's game between the Tigers and White Sox was postponed due to rain. The teams will play a makeup game Monday at 2:10 p.m. ET … As a result of the rainout, Chris Sale will start Friday against the Twins while Francisco Liriano will be skipped in the rotation. Meanwhile, Justin Verlander will start against the Indians on Friday while Doug Fister's next start will be pushed back to Monday … Yoenis Cespedes left Thursday's game against the Angels with a sprained right wrist and is considered day-to-day … Asdrubal Cabrera is scheduled to have his right wrist examined Friday at Cleveland Clinic … Joe Nathan blew his first save since April 11 on Thursday against the Indians, snapping a streak of 31 straight saves … The White Sox won't rush Adam Dunn (oblique) back into the lineup … Jason Hammel still hopes to return this season after an MRI on Thursday didn't show a new injury with his surgically-repaired right knee … Ryan Doumit is day-to-day with a strained muscle in his rib cage … Mike Olt is expected to miss 10-14 days with plantar fasciitis in his right foot …