Yankee Pitchers Adjusting to Andy Pettitte's Return

Pettitte's return is making for some tense times in the Yankee rotation.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images

    It's starting to get a bit tense around the Yankee rotation.

    Andy Pettitte's return to the team has shaken things up among the pitchers vying for regular slots behind CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, something made clear by Ivan Nova's response to a shaky outing on Sunday against the Orioles.

    Nova blamed poor communication with third-string catcher Gustavo Molina for his performance, something designed to deflect any blame for his performance now that the Yankees have another option on hand.

    He's not the only Yankee pitcher who sounds a bit put off about the new reality in Tampa. Freddy Garcia, whose chances of making the rotation took the biggest hit with Pettitte's arrival, sounded like a man who wishes he was playing elsewhere right about now

    "I don't really care," Garcia said. "That's their decision. I'm here to pitch and that's what I want to do. I don't know man. Ask the people. I don't know. I guess. You play with the Yankees, nothing surprises you."

    Garcia's right on target with that last point. This is the Yankees and even in these new, more austere, times that means that your job is only as secure as the other options available to the team.

    Bringing Pettitte back is as close to a no-brainer of a decision as you'll ever see in the game of baseball. For $2.5 million, they get a chance to see what Pettitte has left in the tank after a year of rest following a very strong 2010 season marred only by some health issues.

    Health issues have a way of continually coming up for major league pitchers, which is why the saying "you can never have enough pitchers" has become overused to the point that no one should ever need to actually explain why you'd sign a starting pitcher with Pettitte's pedigree. So long as they pitch well, the guys who don't like his arrival have an easy enough way of ensuring their job security.

    Garcia will probably get that chance when the Yankees break camp while Pettitte gets himself ready to start. If he does well enough, he won't be the odd man out when that day comes.

    It's pretty likely that all of these guys will have a shot to start at some point this season and the Yankees will be able to make use of them in any role. Or maybe someone gets traded to fix another hole or add depth somewhere else on the team.

    Such is life. Guarantees aren't part of life on a major league roster. Pettitte has just reminded everyone of that.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.