Update: Pettitte start shifted to Florida due to cool Maine weather.
Portland, Maine will be the next stop on the “Andy Pettitte Express.”
The New York Yankees’ official website reports that the next destination for the soon-to-be-unretired Major League hurler will be against the Portland Sea Dogs, the Class AA affiliate of the hated Boston Red Sox.
Pettitte will continue to lengthen out his arm in that one, which will start at 6 p.m. EDT at Hadlock Field. The southpaw is expected to throw somewhere between 90 and 95 pitches for the Trenton Thunder.
If all goes well, Pettitte could be at the magic 100 pitch mark in his next minor league start in a May 5 start for Class AA Trenton against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in New Jersey.
From there, the Bombers will have a choice to make: either to extend Pettitte one more start in the minors or promote him to the big leagues.
If Pettitte’s deemed ready for the Major Leagues, as is widely expected, the southpaw could see a return in pinstripes as early as May 10 when the Bombers face the Tampa Bay Rays at the Stadium. Or New York could rest Pettitte an extra day for what would be an easier start on paper against the less-formidable Seattle Mariners.
If another minor league tuneup is needed after Pettitte’s May 5 start, Pettitte’s debut could take place at Camden Yards against the Baltimore Orioles on May 15 or sometime during New York’s next series against the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre.
The 39-year-old Pettitte suffered his first minor league loss in first outing in Class AA on Wednesday. The Yankees hurler allowed seven hits and four runs – three earned – while walking one and striking out three over five-plus frames.
Pettitte threw 59 of his 81 pitches for strikes in a 10-4 loss to the Erie SeaWolves.
“I felt good,” Pettitte told reporters afterward. “It was another step in the right direction. I was a little disappointed with my command and made a few more mistakes than I have been making. All in all, another good step forward.”
It’s unlikely that Pettitte will see Class AAA hitting prior to his promotion. New York’s top farm team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, is off on Monday.
While Scranton hosts a “home game” against the Pawtucket Red Sox on May 5, that game will not be played in Scranton. It will be played in Batavia, N.Y., instead.
Class AAA Scranton will play their entire 144-game International League schedule on the road this season while their home ballpark in Moosic, Pa. is renovated.