NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Yankees stood in fourth place heading into Tuesday’s game against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays but have turned to veteran Andy Pettitte to help turn around their season, with news he will return to the rotation on Sunday.
Pettitte, who will turn 40 next month and last pitched in the majors in 2010 before coming out of retirement earlier this year, was recalled by Yankees general manager Brian Cashman after he completed his sixth minor league outing.
“I think everybody is in agreement that he’s not really going to benefit from any more time down below,” Cashman told reporters.
Pettitte, barring rain-outs this week with threatening weather in the forecast, is expected to take the mound in this weekend’s series finale against the Seattle Mariners.
“The reports that I’ve got have been pretty good,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about the left-hander’s form.
“We feel that he’s physically ready, he feels that he’s physically ready and that’s why he’ll be here this weekend.”
Pettitte, who won five World Series with the Yankees before announcing his retirement before the 2011 season, last pitched in the majors in the 2010 American League Championship Series.
The left-hander has a career record of 240-138, and ranks as the all-time leader in postseason wins (19), starts (42) and innings pitched (263).
The Yankees could benefit from pitching help as Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes have both struggled while 23-year-old Michael Pineda has been ruled out for the rest of the season following shoulder surgery.
Garcia has already been replaced in the rotation by David Phelps.
Girardi would not say who Pettitte would replace among the New York starting pitchers, although Hughes is still scheduled to start against the Mariners on Saturday.
“We have guys that we want to go out and pitch very well, and we’ll make a decision on Sunday who we’re going to take out,” Girardi said.
Pettitte retired after a successful 2010 campaign in which he posted an 11-3 record with a 3.28 earned run average.
“I think all of us probably kind of expect that we’re going to see Andy Pettitte, what we’re used to seeing,” Girardi said.
“A guy that grinds out starts, that has the ability to get double plays, that doesn’t panic out there.”
Pettitte has pitched 13 of his 16 major league seasons with the Yankees, spending 2004-06 with his hometown Houston Astros.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury