||[Aug. 18th, 2004|10:10 pm]
Fans of Andy
Pettitte to undergo season-ending surgery
Posted: 8 minutes ago
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Andy Pettitte's lost season came to an end Wednesday when the Houston Astros announced the pitcher would have surgery on his troublesome left elbow next week.
"It was getting to the point where the guys were focused on whether I could make it through the inning, much less get through the year," Pettitte said in a conference call. "I'm in unfamiliar territory. This is extremely disappointing."
Pettitte was put on the 15-day disabled list for the third time this season. Dr. James Andrews will do the surgery next Tuesday to repair a torn flexor tendon.
Andy Pettitte was 6-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 15 starts for the Astros this season.
Pettitte, 32, will start rehabilitation the day after surgery and be in a brace for up to six weeks. He will resume throwing 12-to-16 weeks after the procedure.
On Tuesday, the Astros pushed Pettitte's start back two days until Saturday. But the former All-Star realized his elbow wasn't right in his bullpen session on Monday.
"At that point, the reality set in that I had pushed it as far as I was going to be able to push it," Pettitte said. "I think throughout all of this that I was pretty much the only one who was not facing up to the reality that I might not make it through the season.
"This organization and my teammates had talked to me about shutting it down over the last two weeks, but I felt I was going to be able to make it."
A two-time 21-game winner, Pettitte joined the hometown Astros in December, leaving the New York Yankees as a free agent to sign a $31.5 million, three-year contract.
But Pettitte tore a tendon in his elbow in his Houston debut - while batting, of all things - and has not been right all season.
Pettitte was 6-4 with a 3.90 ERA in 15 starts for the Astros, who have had a disappointing season after coming in with high expectations. Even with Roger Clemens joining the rotation in the winter and the midseason acquisition of All-Star center fielder Carlos Beltran, the Astros fell out of the NL Central race and faded in the wild-card chase.
"It's very disappointing. I feel very bad for him. I know how hard he worked," Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell said. "I'm thoroughly impressed in how he went about his business despite his problems. It showed a tremendous amount of heart."
The Astros plan to recall right-hander Brandon Backe from Triple-A New Orleans. He will join the team Friday in Houston.
Backe, 26, will make his first major league start on Saturday against the Chicago Cubs after 61 career relief appearances.
"It's obviously a huge loss," Astros left fielder Craig Biggio said. "He's been battling all season. You have to give him a lot of credit for trying to suck it up with a major injury. At least he knows he can get it fixed and be ready for next year."