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Jamie Moyer fever is spreading: Andy Pettitte, who'll turn 40 in June, is attempting a comeback, inking a one-year minor league deal worth $2.5 million with the New York Yankees.
Pettitte will need at least a few weeks to get into playing shape. Regardless, this justifies reports that New York could at some point send down Michael Pineda, who has all three of his minor league options left, and/or Phil Hughes, who has one. Maybe it's farfetched, but it adds to the already notable risks for both hurlers.
Despite their 2011 success, Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia don't have cemented spots, either. New York's prospect starting pitchers need more polish, and a ready Pettitte would leapfrog them on the farm depth chart.
This is more likely to serve as a ceremonial closing chapter more than it'll push him back into consistent mixed-league relevance. He's insurance that's dependent on pitch selection and control, not velocity.
But if he continues his increased two-seamer incorporation from 2010 and regains the bite on his cutter, he could sustain a K/9 of somewhere between 6.00 and 7.00 with a long-term rotation gig. Of course, he could prove unprepared and stay in the minors or the MLB 'pen, as a long reliever. An end-game AL-only bid, nonetheless, could easily pay off.
Maybe the crafty southpaw's year of retirement means he has another useful one left on the diamond. Just don't overvalue him because of his history.
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports Ryan Howard (Achilles') isn't expected to return until late May or early June. Add it to his growing risk pile.
Logan Morrison's troublesome right knee has stalled his camp progress. After his first spring action Tuesday, he woke up with a swollen knee Wednesday. There's more concern about his availability for opening day, considering how long the maladies are lingering.
The Miami Marlins' outfielder is worth a fantasy buy as a midrange mixed option because of his power, but he deserves more caution considering these developments.
LoMo isn't the only knee-plagued Marlin. Though his bruised and sore left wrist is healing, Giancarlo Stanton is now suffering from inflammation in his left knee and probably won't play for at least another week. He said he battled and played through similar problems last year.
Luckily, there's no structural damage, per an MRI. Considering Stanton's big price tag for his power-laden, iffy-BA stock, however, this is something to monitor. The 6-foot-5, 233-pounder has the upper-body strength to provide lift even with a hampered lower half, but, regardless of talent level, lumbering builds with shaky leg strength don't necessarily warrant that extra buck.
Jordan Lyles might have found his curveball. It's been there for most of his playing career, but his trust in it has grown following his altered grip and its success in a minor league game Thursday. The 21-year-old said he threw about 20 breaking balls in a five-inning, no-run, two-hit, one-walk, seven-strikeout outing.
Folks were too presumptuous when tabbing Lyles as a 2011 mixed-league asset. He needs to harness his diverse assortment of pitches because his fastball velocity tops out in the low 90s; it's possible he could add a few ticks, but his approach is finesse-based. An effective hook fits that.
The 2008 first-rounder is competing with a few other SPs for a backend spot in the Houston Astros' rotation; he undoubtedly provides more intrigue, especially for NL-only leaguers, than Zach Duke, Livan Hernandez and other less intriguing youngsters.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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