Pettitte passes Guidry on Yankees' K list
Southpaw bolsters resume, but can't add win against Phils
NEW YORK -- The Louisiana connection works. Lightning? Might be a bit of a stretch.
Andy Pettitte passed the Yankees' other famous left-hander from the Bayou State on the franchise's all-time strikeout list in Thursday night's 7-1 loss to the Phillies, moving into sole possession of second place when he caught Jayson Werth looking at a fastball in the second inning.
Pettitte finished the night with seven punchouts, giving him 1,784 in his career, behind only Whitey Ford's 1,956.
"It's just great to be up there with those guys. I'm not, never have been, and never will be concerned with who I pass or passing guys," said Pettitte. "Gator [Ron Guidry] makes it special for me, just because he's a good friend of mine."
Pettitte and Guidry may both wear their gloves on their right hands and have their roots in Louisiana, but they don't exactly share the same pitching style. Guidry earned his Louisiana Lightning moniker with his fastball and complemented it with his slider -- the one that helped him famously strike out 18 California Angels on June 17, 1978, exactly 32 years ago Thursday.
Pettitte, meanwhile, has never fanned more than a dozen in a contest, and it took him 96 more innings than Guidry to reach 1,778 strikeouts. Reaching the mark, then, is more a testament to his remarkable longevity.
"I just feel blessed and fortunate to be able to pitch this long and be in this organization -- it's such a great organization -- and hopefully continue to do good things here for them," Pettitte said.
Pettitte has been doing good things for the Yankees all season, even in his second loss of the year on Thursday. Pettitte submitted the kind of fine performance that is quickly becoming average for him in 2010. The left-hander limited the Phillies to three runs (two earned) on six hits in seven innings, only to be bested by Kyle Kendrick. It was his 11th start allowing two earned runs or fewer, the best in the American League.
Pettitte, of course, has higher standards for himself. A loss is a loss, regardless of the fact that for the first time this season the Yankees' offense didn't support him with multiple runs. Instead, he ruminated on his lone mistake -- a 2-2 cutter that Shane Victorino sneaked inside the left-field foul pole for a two-run homer in the fifth.
"I wasn't wholeheartedly behind it and threw it with not a whole lot of purpose behind it," said Pettitte, who got the cutter in on Victorino's hands but not down. "For me, it was a stupid pitch. It was just a poor decision on me to throw that pitch right there and where I threw it ... and it basically cost me the game tonight."
Otherwise, Pettitte was terrific. He was perfect through three before allowing an unearned run in the fourth, and he pitched himself in and out of trouble in the sixth and seventh frames. In the seventh, he struck out Ryan Howard with the bases loaded and unleashed an uncharacteristically enthusiastic fist pump -- the kind the left-hander usually reserves for autumn.
That was Pettitte's last pitch of the night, and neither the Yankees' bullpen nor its offense provided him with the proper support. The Phillies tacked on four insurance runs against Joba Chamberlain and Damaso Marte in the ninth, and the Yankees didn't have another baserunner after Placido Polanco snagged a Nick Swisher foul popup over the tarp to quell an uprising in the sixth.
"He did what he's done the entire year," Derek Jeter said. "Unfortunately, we didn't score enough runs."
Girardi agrees with A-Rod playing it safe
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez didn't find another gear as he legged out a double in the ninth inning of a 6-3 loss to the Phillies, and one day later, the Yankees were satisfied that he was being smart on the basepaths.
Rodriguez said after the game that he didn't feel it was crucial to go all-out on the play, instead beating the throw with a head-first slide. That explanation made sense to manager Joe Girardi, who was relieved to learn that Rodriguez hadn't felt another twinge in his troublesome groin.
"He was just somewhat being cautious," said Girardi, who conferred with third-base coach Rob Thomson to make sure. "To me, I take that as being pretty smart, actually. You think about, he gets into second, we're still down three runs. His run doesn't really mean anything if he gets thrown out, so you've got to be smart about it."
As it turned out, Rodriguez would be stranded at third base as Phillies closer Brad Lidge struck out Jorge Posada with the bases loaded to end the game. The Yankees have not set a date when A-Rod can graduate from designated hitter duty to playing defense.
"You probably want to see him score from second, where he has to bust it, or go from first to third," Girardi said. "More of it is him having the confidence that he can make the necessary moves that he needs to make."
Posada gets day off for finale vs. Phillies
NEW YORK -- Nine innings behind the plate proved to be a strenuous workout for Jorge Posada, who was correct in assuming that he'd need a breather after catching in the Yankees' 6-3 loss to the Phillies on Wednesday.
A fracture in Posada's right foot cost him 16 days on the disabled list, and while he has returned to action, it is still not without occasional discomfort.
"It gets tender toward the end; I can't lie to you guys," Posada said. "I think it just gets tired. I'll keep an eye on it and keep treating it."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he considers Posada available to pinch-hit on Thursday, and if need be, he could enter the game as a defensive replacement.
"I don't know how long we'll deal with that," Girardi said. "Eventually there will come a day when it doesn't fatigue and get sore. I can't tell you when that day is going to be."
The Yankees are hopeful that Posada will be able to catch two of three days in each of the team's upcoming Interleague series in Arizona and Los Angeles, where they will not have the luxury of the designated hitter rule.
Girardi said that he did not think it would be an issue, but Posada was not interested in looking that far ahead.
"I worry about today and tomorrow," Posada said. "I can't really get ahead of myself. It's one day at a time for me right now. ... It's just getting better. Yesterday is better than Sunday. As soon as it goes away, it would be great. There's still a little pain there in the last part of the game."
When Posada proves he can reliably catch without discomfort, the Yankees will drop the third catcher on their roster, journeyman Chad Moeller. Girardi said that it was something they would have to discuss, but he expected that New York would stay at 12 pitchers when Posada is cleared.
"My thoughts are that you have to feel that he's out of the woods and he can catch a game without experiencing what he's experiencing," Girardi said.
The Yankees welcomed members of "Rescue Ink" into their dugout during batting practice on Thursday, with players including Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Joba Chamberlain exchanging greetings. "Rescue Ink" is a group of tattooed New York bikers dedicated to battling animal abuse and neglect. ... The Yankees are not considering promoting another reliever, even though Chad Gaudin and Boone Logan combined for 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. ... Nick Johnson (right wrist) is "not close" to resuming hitting drills, according to manager Joe Girardi. Johnson has been on the disabled list since May 8. ... Alfredo Aceves (strained lower back) continues to play catch and has been increasing distance and intensity. He has been on the disabled list since May 12. ... Teixeira will greet graduating seniors from Harlem RBI on Friday afternoon. Teixeira is a member of Harlem RBI's Board of Directors and served as a chairperson at the organization's annual Bids for Kids Gala on May 19.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.