The New York Yankees are little more than middling contenders without Andy Pettitte

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Over 162 games, the New York Yankees can’t contend without Andy Pettitte.

After leaving in the fifth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night in New York, borderline Hall of Fame Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte was sent to the 15-day disabled list with a strained trapezius muscle.

A three-time All-Star who has captured five crowns in pinstripes, the 6-foot-5, 225 pound Pettitte (4-3, 3.83 ERA) is one of the primary reasons New York sits atop the American League East with a record of 25-16.

Using a piercing cutter and pinpoint control, Yankees fans can realistically expect Pettitte to win 15 games with the backing of the ageless Mariano Rivera.

Although a seemingly minor injury, the winningest hurler in the 2000s will be replaced in the rotation by the immortal Vidal Nuno.

“I couldn’t get extended at all. I really just felt like I was kind of cutting everything off and really just trying to throw it in there, just almost slower than slow to tell you the truth,” said Pettitte, 40, a member of the “Core Four” who has recorded the most ever postseason victories with 19.

A flock of fragile bastards, the Yankees have now shelved 12 ballplayers this year for a total of 332 games.

Compiling 249 wins, against 145 losses, with a 3.85 ERA since debuting as a Yankee in April 1995, New York can’t afford to bench Pettitte for any significant length.

Scoffing at doomsday predictions, the Bombers are thriving and can truly hope to earn their 28th World Series title this October.

However, “to tell you the truth,” the New York Yankees are little more than middling contenders without Andy Pettitte on their staff.

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