The final game of spring training is generally notable for a couple of things: the clubhouse is full of boxes as the players pack up their belongings to be shipped north; the veterans play just a couple of innings and scoot out early, and the game is usually pretty quick, because nobody wants to stick around too long on the last day of school.
But today's spring finale between the Yankees and Mets will have an extra added attraction: The spring training debut of one Andrew Eugene Pettitte, who after a year at home in Texas with his family decided he really did miss this unique lifestyle and wanted to give it one more shot.
When Pettitte officially arrived back in camp on March 20, it was unthinkable that he could be ready to pitch in a game before the Yankees broke camp. But the 39-year-old physical wonder has been so far ahead of schedule -- after his first bullpen session, catcher Russell Martin said it was the most impressive bullpen he had caught all spring --that the Yankees pitching think tank of Joe Girardi, Brian Cashman and especially, Larry Rothschild, decided it was time for Pettitte to face some live hitting in a game situation.
So after Steady Freddy Garcia goes his three or four innings, get ready for what could be one of the highlights of the spring, on its last official day, the sght of old No. 46, with the brim of his cap pulled down past his eyebrows and his blue-black stubble seemingly growing between pitches, glaring in for a sign.
It is a sight we havent seen in 18 months, and a sight that will make even the most meaningless spring training game of all worth watching, if only for an inning.
The question: Of the following three Yankee starters -- Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova -- which do you think will win the most games this year?
Up now: Andrew Marchand breaks down the Yankees hitters for the upcoming season. I've got a column up on the disturbing parallels between Phil Hughes' 2011 spring, and subsequent season, and what it may mean for Ivan Nova, who just completed a subpar 2012 spring. Plus, all the blog stuff from yesterday's Yankees-Mets game in St. Lucie, won by the Mets on Ike Davis' walkoff home run.
On-deck circle: All day blogging from the final day of Yankee spring training, leading into, at long last, the beginning of the 2012 baseball season.