Yankees Worries Mounting: Andy's Not Feeling Dandy

Lefty has shoulder fatigue at worst possible time

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Sep 15, 2009  |  Updated 7:00 PM EDT
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Yankees Worries Mounting: Andy's Not Feeling Dandy

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There are times when you love to say "I told you so," and others when it brings no joy whatsoever. This is one of the latter times.

On Monday, we discussed the struggles of A.J. Burnett and the difficult decision that leaves the Yankees with when they choose which schedule they want for the American League Division Series. As part of that discussion, there was a brief mention of the fact that Andy Pettitte faded badly last season and, at 37, was a risk to do so again. So Tuesday's news that Pettitte was suffering from shoulder fatigue that's forcing him out of Wednesday's start was met with bemusement rather than surprise.

Right now, the best response is mild worry as opposed to four-alarm panic, but the problems are stacking up at Yankee Stadium like planes over LaGuardia during a thunderstorm. If Pettitte's shoulder, which is described as aching but not in pain, doesn't respond well to increased rest, though, sirens will start to wail with good reason. 

This is the same Pettitte who reported shoulder fatigue while getting crushed over and over again in the second half of 2008, and the same Pettitte whose bounceback season likely kept the Yankees from adding another starting pitcher at some point during the season. The Yankees have no depth beyond their front four starters and now there are serious questions facing all three of them with the playoffs rapidly approaching. 

If this sounds familiar, it should. From 2004 on, the Yankees have made a habit of entering the playoffs with a team loaded offensively and iffy in the starting rotation. Under the postseason microscope, iffy becomes terrible in a hurry and the offense can't carry the whole load. The Yankees thought they'd solved that problem this season, but there's suddenly a familiar tune playing in the Bronx.  

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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