Looking back on Andy Pettitte's 1st start of 2012

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Looking back on Andy Pettitte's 1st start of 2012

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW YORK (AP) -- Andy Pettitte stood on the mound at Yankee Stadium with his hat pulled down low, peering in at the catcher over the glove held high in front of his face. It's an image Yankees fans know well. This time, though, No. 46 was back on a big league mound for the first time in a year and a half. It was hard to tell. Pettitte pitched effectively into the seventh inning Sunday, but gave up a pair of two-run homers in New York's 6-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners. "To me, he looked like he hadn't missed a beat," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. Nearly lost amid the excitement over Pettitte's first major league appearance since retiring after the 2010 season was party crasher Kevin Millwood's performance for Seattle -- helped by three double plays. The 37-year-old Millwood (1-4) gave up three hits in seven innings and got his 2,000th career strikeout as Seattle avoided a three-game sweep. The Yankees tried to prevent their old pal Pettitte from taking the loss with a rally in the eighth against four Seattle relievers. Robinson Cano was walked with two outs by Charlie Furbush with the bases loaded to make it 4-2. Mark Teixeira, though, struck out to end the inning. The lovefest for Pettitte (0-1) began when the lefty appeared with several players in videos welcoming fans to Yankee Stadium after batting practice. The cheers grew as he strolled out to the bullpen for warm-ups and fans rose for a standing ovation when the five-time World Series champion followed his teammates onto the field for the first inning. "I just cannot believe how comfortable this is for me," Pettitte said. "I don't know how to explain it." The Core Four member who turns 40 next month even got special treatment from the Bleacher Creatures. They broke protocol after their roll call and started a chant for Pettitte that most of the 41,631 in attendance joined. The Creatures rarely include the starting pitcher when calling out player's names in the first inning. The stadium got awful quiet when Casper Wells homered in the sixth to give Seattle a 4-1 lead with his first of the season, an opposite-field drive off the netting on the right-field pole. Justin Smoak homered for Seattle's first hit with two outs in the fourth. "I thought it was so awesome. I was so excited. I know we lost today and that's what a lot of people are going to focus on -- I could really care less about that," Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher said. "We got our boy back." Pettitte's return had become more important to the Yankees because their rotation had been struggling, with Freddy Garcia demoted to the bullpen. But through the first five games of this homestand, the team's starters were 4-0 with a 1.31 ERA and Girardi thought their performance would take some of the pressure off Pettitte. The broad-chested Texan appeared calm as ever in his first big league start in 573 days, since Game 3 of the AL championship series against Texas on Oct. 18, 2010. He sat out last season before deciding in mid-March to make a comeback. After Swisher caught leadoff batter Dustin Ackley's fly to right with a leap at the wall, Pettitte walked Wells. He then got Ichiro Suzuki to ground into a double play. Pettitte walked Alex Liddi with two outs in the second but Mike Carp grounded out to end the inning. Not having allowed a hit two outs into the fourth, Pettitte walked former Yankees prospect Jesus Montero and Smoak lined a homer to left. Pettitte showed characteristically little emotion on the mound. Wells homered following Ackley's leadoff single in the sixth. The Mariners then loaded the bases with one out on three straight singles but Girardi stuck with Pettitte, and Carp grounded to first. Teixeira stepped on the base and threw home, and catcher Russell Martin tagged a sliding Montero. Pettitte returned for one batter in the seventh and induced his 12th groundball out. He left to a loud ovation despite trailing 4-1 and waved to fans as he entered the dugout. "There is not a question in my mind how this is all going to play out for me," Pettitte said. "It's not about this one start. I'll measure if this was a successful return or not at the end of October."

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2016-17 Season preview: New York Rangers

2016-17 Season preview: New York Rangers

It still feels like the season just ended, but with the draft and free agency already behind us, it's time to look forward to the 2016-17 season. We will preview every team in the NHL throughout August and take a look at what the new season may hold.

Team: New York Rangers

How they did last season: 46-27-9 (101 points), 3rd in the Metropolitan, 4th in the Eastern Conference. Lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Pittsburgh Penguins in an incredibly one-sided affair.

Notable acquisitions: LW Nathan Gerbe; RW Michael Grabner; C Mika Zibanejad; D Nick Holden; C Brandon Pirri; LW Jimmy Vesey; RW Josh Jooris

Notable departures: C Eric Staal; LW Viktor Stalberg; D Keith Yandle; C Derick Brassard

When they will play the Caps: Oct. 22 in Washington; Feb. 19 in New York; Feb. 28 in New York; April 5 in Washington

RELATED: HOLTBY SAYS PRICE SHOULD START FOR CANADA IN WORLD CUP

Analysis: Several years of mortgaging the future finally seemed to catch up with the Rangers last season. It took the Pittsburgh Penguins just five games to dispatch New York in what was one of the least competitive series of the entire playoffs. A team that had begun the year with Stanley Cup aspirations was eliminated in the first round by a team that started its third-string goalie in the first two games of the series.

That series showed the Rangers were clearly no longer among the top teams in the conference. There was also no real hope of the future generation taking over in New York as the Rangers had not selected in the first round of the draft since 2012.

Think about that. Four straight years with no first-round draft picks and New York had virtually nothing to show for it.

Usually that kind of strategy leads to a long and painful rebuild, but thanks to some very shrewd moves by general manager Jeff Gorton, the future suddenly looks bright again in the Big Apple.

The Rangers’ shift in philosophy was clear when the team traded center Derick Brassard for the 23-year-old Mika Zibanejad. Brassard may arguably be the better player right now, but he is five years older and already in his prime. Zibanejad recorded 51 points last season and is only getting better.

In addition, New York also added college free agent Jimmy Vesey. While we should temper our expectations — the buzz surrounding his free agency greatly inflated what people seem to believe he can do in his rookie season — his signing adds another young weapon to a suddenly stacked offensive lineup.

In fact, with the signings of Nathan Gerbe, Michael Grabner and Brandon Pirri in addition to Zibanejad and Vesey, the Rangers may now have too many weapons on offense and may have to ship one or two players out before the season starts.

And oh yeah, they still have the king between the pipes.

At 34, age is starting to become a concern for Henrik Lundqvist. Last season was not his best as he registered his a goals against average of 2.48, the worst of his career. But that had more to do with the team as Lundqvist still managed a good save percentage of .920. The Rangers must improve improve defensively and in terms of possession in order to help their netminder this season.

Season prediction: It’s hard to tell exactly what kind of team the Rangers will be because I don’t think they’re done dealing just yet. There are too many bodies on offense and too many concerns on defense for the Rangers not to make a move.
Lundqvist is still very good, but he’s not the brick wall he used to be and Dan Girardi looks like a shell of his former self. Many did not expect Girardi to be back for this season, but as of now he’s still there.

The Rangers had a tremendous offseason, but many of the moves they made were with an eye on the future and not the present. That’s not a bad thing by any means, but this is a preview for the 2016-17 season and in that sense it doesn’t look like the moves they made will catapult them back into serious contention. New York will have to worry more about fighting off the Islanders and Hurricanes for third place in the division than they will the Caps and Penguins for first place.

MORE HOCKEY: CAPS ASSISTANT MISSES OUT ON HEAD COACHING JOB IN COLORADO

2016-2017 NHL TEAM PREVIEWS

Pacific Division
— Anaheim Ducks
— Arizona Coyotes
— Calgary Flames
— Edmonton Oilers
— Los Angeles Kings
— San Jose Sharks
— Vancouver Canucks

Central Division
— Chicago Blackhawks
— Colorado Avalanche
— Dallas Stars
— Minnesota Wild
— Nashville Predators
— St. Louis Blues
— Winnipeg Jets

Atlantic Division
— Boston Bruins
— Buffalo Sabres
— Detroit Red Wings
— Florida Panthers
— Montreal Canadiens
— Ottawa Senators
— Tampa Bay Lightning
— Toronto Maple Leafs

Metropolitan Division
— Carolina Hurricanes
— Columbus Blue Jackets
New Jersey Devils
New York Islanders
— Philadelphia Flyers (coming Aug. 28)
— Pittsburgh Penguins (coming Aug. 29)
— Washington Capitals (coming Aug. 30)

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Showalter on changing roster: 'What else are you going to do?'

Showalter on changing roster: 'What else are you going to do?'

NEW YORK—Over the last eight days, the Orioles have made moves involving x relievers. Tyler Wilson, Odrisamer Despaigne, Parker Bridwell, Mike Wright and Logan Ondrusek have all been with the Orioles, and are now gone. 

T.J. McFarland is here, and with the Orioles temporarily going with 11 pitchers because of Adam Jones’ hamstring injury, there may be another move coming in a day or two.

RELATED: HOW LONG WILL JONES BE OUT?

The Orioles can have plenty of reinforcements when the rosters expand on Thursday, but there are still five games to play until then. 
For now, there will be plenty of roster shuffling.

“I hear that word, shuffling. What else are you going to do?” Showalter said.

“We’re trying to win here, right? We’re trying to keep people healthy, and our starting pitching gets knocked around, and we have to bring people in, what are you going to do?...Somebody’s got to pitch. Somebody’s got to play. What else are you going to do?”

Showalter thinks players understand the roster churning.

“It hasn’t been tough. It hasn’t been tough for them, either. They’d rather rotate than not be called up. If that’s a bother for them as a player, they’re probably not going to bite when they’re a big dog, either,” Showalter said.   

NOTE: Bowie C Chance Sicso and utility player Garabez Rosa were named to the Eastern League All-Star team.

MORE ORIOLES: ORIOLES NEED STRONG START FROM BUNDY

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Concerned about Jones, Orioles add Borbon to play center

Concerned about Jones, Orioles add Borbon to play center

NEW YORK—Needing a center fielder with Adam Jones out of the lineup due to a strained left hamstring, the Orioles selected the contract of outfielder Julio Borbon from Double-A Bowie. 

Borbon is in the lineup for Saturday’s game playing center field. 

“Adam was trying to talk us into playing him today,” manager Buck Showalter said.

Jones was taken out of Friday night’s game in the second inning, one night after he was removed for a pinch hitter in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game in Washington. 

“Who knows? He might pinch hit today,” Showalter said.

RELATED: JONES HURT IN GALLARDO'S SHORTEST START

Borbon hit .222 in five games for the Orioles last month when Hyun Soo Kim was on the disabled list. He’s hitting .275 with six home runs and 25 RBIs for Bowie. 

“Until we get our arms around Adam, Borbon will need to stay here,” Showalter said. “Borbon was our best option at this point.”    

The Orioles had several other options for center field, Showalter said. Chris Dickerson, who signed a week ago, and has been with the Baysox, hasn’t played enough. Dariel Alvarez and Xavier Avery, both at Norfolk were also considered. 

To make room for Borbon on the 25-man roster, the Orioles optioned right-handed pitcher Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk. 

Wright pitched in back-to-back games for the first time on Thursday and Friday, allowing two runs on five hits in four innings. 

Overall, Wright is 3-4 with a 5.89 ERA with the Orioles. 

Logan Ondrusek was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Borbon.

MORE ORIOLES: HOW SERIOUS IS JONES' INJURY?