Although many preseason projections have the New York Yankees missing the postseason for the second time in 19 years, veteran starting pitcher Andy Pettitte has other ideas.
"I think we're going to win our division and I expect us to be in the World Series. Bottom line," Pettitte said before the team's final exhibition game on Saturday.
The low expectations -- one of out of seven SI.com experts predicted that the Yankees will make the playoffs -- come after the roster was decimated by injuries and starters Nick Swisher and Russell Martin left as free agents. Starters Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Phil Hughes will all open the season on the disabled list, while closer Mariano Rivera is recovering from a torn ACL and ace CC Sabathia had offseason elbow surgery.
But 40-year-old Pettitte and GM Brian Cashman both expressed optimism and confidence regarding the team's outlook.
From the ESPN.com report:
"I don't let my mind go in that direction because I think we're going to win our division and I expect us to be in the World Series. Bottom line," Pettitte said Saturday before the Yankees played their final exhibition game against Army at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. "I think we got the pitching and bullpen to do that and I feel like if people think we're going to be short on scoring runs, we're going to figure out how to score enough runs to me. To me, I feel great about our club."[SI's Complete Team-By-Team MLB Season Preview]
Our job is to say, 'Hey, we might have some guys down but don't count us out,'" Cashman said. "Our job is to make sure we find a way and I've repeated this a few times already, we need to find a way to survive and thrive despite what's occurred. That's what good baseball teams do.
"We're just going to go forward and fight and find a way. That's what we intend to do. We have a lot of players here that believe in themselves and believe in each other and we know our competition is fierce and tough and hungry. We've made a lot of enemies the last 20 years. People want to take advantage if we're down. Our job is to say we're not down."