Pettitte to take mound for SWB Yankees on Sunday
One of the New York Yankees' most popular and successful pitchers ever will be throwing for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees this weekend.
But even for the nomadic Yankees, where Andy Pettitte will be taking the mound has become quite a talking point.
Mr. Pettitte and the Yankees will face Pawtucket at 2:05 p.m. on Sunday at Frontier Field in Rochester in a move that stunned many around the organization who figured Scranton/Wilkes-Barre would be the unlikeliest of destinations for a left-hander of his stature. Getting Pettite - and the Yankees - to Rochester even seemed unlikely.
The Yankees' game against the Triple-A Red Sox originally was scheduled for tiny Dwyer Stadium in Batavia, N.Y., a New York-Penn League park that seats less than 3,000. The stadium would be ill-equipped to host a game that would generate as much fan and media interest as what likely will be Pettitte's final minor-league start before rejoining the New York Yankees next week.
But Rochester general manger Dan Mason announced Thursday night that the Yankees-Red Sox game would be moved to Frontier Field to accommodate the Pettitte start. The regularly scheduled game between Buffalo and Rochester was postponed and rescheduled for a doubleheader Saturday night.
That means, the Rochester Red Wings were essentially moved out of their own home stadium Sunday so the Yankees could use the park.
"The Yankees made it clear that if Pettitte was going to pitch in this area, it would be at Frontier and not Batavia," Mr. Mason told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
With the potential for at least a near-sellout crowd, and with their organization reaping the entire financial benefit, the Red Wings front office agreed to switch the game from Batavia to Rochester. The Rochester Red Wings operate the Class A Batavia Muckdogs, who play their home games at Dwyer Stadium. The organization was playing a key role in the Yankees hosting several games in Batavia while PNC Field is undergoing renovations this summer.
Along with shortstop Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada and fellow pitcher Mariano Rivera, Pettitte is considered a Yankees legend. He is one of four players to be a member of each of New York's five World Series championship teams between 1996 and 2009.
Pettitte retired after the 2010 season, citing a need to spend more time with his family. But in March, he agreed to return to the Yankees, signing a minor-league deal. He has made four starts on his road back to the majors - two with Class A Tampa, one for Double-A Trenton and another in extended spring training. On Sunday, he'll appear in his first Triple-A game since 1995.
In 16 big league seasons, Pettitte has posted a 240-138 record, with a 3.88 ERA.
Sunday's start will be the first for Pettitte since he testified for the prosecution in the government's perjury trial against former Yankees teammate Roger Clemens. Clemens is accused of lying to Congress in 2008 when he said he never used steroids or HGH. Pettitte testified Tuesday that "Roger had mentioned to me that he had taken HGH." But he testified Wednesday that he may have misunderstood the conversation.
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