Andy Pettitte returned to Yankee Stadium Thursday as a new advisor, and the retired pitcher took batting practice before the Yankees’ 5-3 win over the Blue Jays.
But as the Yankees look to fix Carlos Rodon before his disastrous first season in the Bronx ends, the fact that he’s been working with the same struggling left-handed pitcher will benefit him more than anything else. there is a possibility.
And Pettit said there are reasons for optimism, including the bullpen session Rodon pitched Thursday and the past two games.
“He’s in a tough situation with the season he’s had so far and his injuries,” Pettit said of Rodon. “Before our last trip, I noticed that one of his pens was not of good quality,” Pettit said. “He was all over the place. Then he went to Boston and Pittsburgh and pitched well. That’s a step forward. We appreciate his efforts.”
The effort continued even though the Yankees were on the verge of being eliminated from the playoff race.
Rodon has been dealing with back, forearm and hamstring issues, and his last two games have resulted in a 5.90 ERA, which is actually down from his season-worst 6.60.
“He was very good [Thursday], you just want to look at that and calm him down,” Pettitte said of the bullpen session. “My message to him was, ‘Stay healthy, let’s go out and practice a few times.'”
Despite Rodon’s lack of results, Pettit did not shy away from criticism of his performance, noting some similarities between himself and the 30-year-old Rodon.
“He wants to be great,” Pettit said. “We know what this place is like. It’s a tough place to play. It’s been tough for me to get this far. I wanted to do very well and his I love that part. He’s hard on himself. I tell everyone who comes here, “Wear that.” If the pitching wasn’t good, say the pitching wasn’t good and take it out of everyone’s hands. He accomplished it. ”
Rodon will look to start changing the trajectory of his Yankees career Saturday against Arizona.
Rodon had a 6.59 ERA in six starts at the stadium, but on the road he started six games and had a rough 5.28 ERA.
“He’s been through hard times,” Pettit said. “He’s not fun when he doesn’t have the best stuff and it’s hard to go out. But I know he’s excited and wants to have more fun outings.”
Pettit tried to help Rodon regain his confidence.
“When you don’t have results, who doesn’t get upset about it?” Pettit said. “I’m just trying to cheer him up and be positive.”
Against the Red Sox and Pirates, Rodon allowed four runs in 11/3 innings, posting a 3.08 ERA.
He also set a season high with strikeouts in both starts.
“He needs to do his best to get used to the mech and find whatever he needs,” Pettit said. “He’s obviously found something in the last few starts and things are looking up. I’m just kicking his butt. That’s all I can do. This game is difficult, Sometimes it can be overwhelming.”
And there is no doubt that that poor result took away some of Rodon’s confidence.
Saturday will be his final start in the Bronx this year, but Pettitte knows how quickly perceptions can change.
“If he goes out there and pitches well and gets 10 strikeouts, he’s going to be cheered,” Pettit said. “But I told him not to worry about that. He needs to go out and keep his blindfold on. It’s difficult, but if he does his job properly, he’ll do well.” I’ll go.”