“Aging” Andy Pettitte wasn’t too old to pitch a brilliant eight-inning shutout game Friday night against a formidable Cincinnati Reds team. This gave him his first win in 2012, and it made up for a weakish previous start against the Seattle Mariners

His skills are still what they used to be. That is not unexpected for an older player, even a pitcher.

What is likely to be lacking in an older player is endurance. And my proposed cure for that problem will be discussed below.

To illustrate the point, in 2010, his last full year on the Yankees‘ roster, Pettitte pitched a relatively short number of starts (21) and innings (129). That reflects his lack of endurance.

But the games he did pitch were of high quality. Two-thirds of them were quality starts, second only to the much younger CC Sabathia, and Pettitte’s ERA was a close second to Sabathia’s (among starters) as well. That speaks to his skill level, and it puts him way ahead of Phil Hughes and the lately lamented AJ Burnett.

Pettitte then grew tired and “retired” at the end of 2010. The Yankees made it through 2011 without him, then paid particular attention to the gaps that had developed in the rotation. They traded for Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners, offering them good-hitting catcher Jesus Montero in exchange. But Pinera suffered injuries in spring training that will keep him sidelined for the 2012 season.

The Bombers also signed former Dodger hurler Hiroki Kuroda. But their hopes were dashed when he (along with Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova) saw his ERA balloon as the season got underway. And Freddy Garcia, the worst of the bunch, was pushed to the bullpen to make room for rookie David Phelps.


So Andy Pettitte came to the rescue. He is not only an adequate replacement for any the aforementioned pitchers, but he’s a front-end-caliber starter whose 2012 ERA is lower than Sabathia’s.

It’s unlikely that he’d be pitching this well if he had gone through the grind of a 2011 season. But the “year off” appears to have done a lot of good. This fact points to a solution involving him.

It might be too much to expect Pettitte to pitch for the Yankees every year. But he might be capable of pitching every other year. That is, after the 2012 season, he might sit out 2013, 2015, etc., but throw for the Bombers in 2014, 2016 and hopefully 2018, maybe even 2020. This is my “modest proposal” for him.

Yankee fans will take their chances, and possibly their lumps, in odd-numbered years. But if such a year proves disappointing, they will have Yogi Berra’s consolation: “Wait till next year,” if Pettitte’s presence in the rotation is at most one year away for the foreseeable future.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com