On Saturday, the Yankees had one of those days that just wasn't worth waking up for. Both Andy Pettitte and Robinson Cano were scratched from their respective games due to back stiffness and the big league game was rained out in the bottom of the second inning with the Yankees trailing 6-0. Blech.
I won't even bother with the usual breakdown other than to say that Jonathan Albaladejo did most of the damage, but pitched in extraordinarily bad luck. After a lead-off single, a double-play grounder went right through Derek Jeter's legs (Jeter anticipated a hop that didn't happen), after which left fielder Shelley Duncan threw to third base allowing the batter to go to second. After an RBI groundout, Duncan booted a basket catch, plating two more runs. Frank Thomas then hit a grounder to third that hit the bag giving the immobile DH an infield single. At this point, Albaladejo had gotten the equivalent of five outs and allowed one legitimate hit, but only had one out on the board, three runs in, and a man on base first. Then Aaron Hill drove Thomas in with a double. Then a downpour started. Then Marcos Scutaro doubled in Hill, driving Alabaladejo from the game down 5-0. Sure, Albaladejo could have helped himself with a strike out or two in there somewhere, and those last two doubles were smoked, but you kinda have to give the guy a do over for an outing like that, don'tcha? Especially since he was a last-minute replacement for scheduled starter Kei Igawa. You see, the Yankees knew there was a chance the game would be cut short by rain and they wanted to get a look at their relievers, so they inverted their pitching plans, starting the game with Albaladejo and scheduling Igawa for the last three or four innings, which never came.
Scott Patterson replaced Albaladejo and got two quick fly outs, one of which was a sac fly to push Albaladejo's total to six runs, all unearned. Kyle Farnsworth coughed up a double and a walk in the second, but escaped unscathed. LaTroy Hawkins and Joba Chamberlain got their work in indoors in a simulated game. Igawa will pitch against Mike Mussina in a minor league intrasquad game on Sunday that will pit the Double-A squad against the Triple-A squad. Jeff Karstens will make the start for the major leaguers.
As for Pettitte and Cano, here's Andy on his back, which he says locked up on him on Thursday on the way home from the park. He got treatment on Friday, said he felt better Saturday, but the Yankees weren't about to have him pitch. He had the same issue with his back last year and still made 34 starts and two relief appearances, so hopefully this won't be a lingering concern. Right now, Pettitte expects to make his final spring start on Thursday, try to get up toward 90 pitches in that game, and start the second game of the regular season as originally intended. Cano says he's fine and is expected to play in Sunday's game.
There was more bad news on Saturday as Graig Nettles announced he's been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The good news is that it's a very treatable form of cancer, and Nettles' doctors say they've caught it early, which gives him an excellent prognosis.