The final game ball from Andy Pettitte’s 200th Yankees win was delivered, appropriately enough, by Mariano Rivera.
“Guys were all just coming in here and just hugging me,” Pettitte said. “Mo, with a big ole smile on his face, had the baseball and handed it to me. Gator just called me and congratulated me on it.”
Pettitte said he can’t help but think about these milestones because he gets so many questions about them — it was clear that this win meant a lot to him — but as always, there was a business-as-usual quality to the veteran left-hander.
“Andy is about as humble a guy as I’ve ever met,” Joe Girardi said. “One day, though, I think he’ll sit back and be very fond of what he’s done in his career.”
Here’s Pettitte after win No. 200.
• Brett Gardner was diagnosed with a Grade 1 sprain of the ligament in his left thumb, but he was also cleared to take full batting practice tomorrow. “Hopefully play tomorrow or Sunday,” he said. He took BP in the cage and threw a little bit today. He said both felt fine.
• Pettitte said he felt a little too strong today. The extra-days rest, he said, might have hurt him a little bit. “Mechanically I felt like I was over-throwing, which I haven’t done in a while,” he said. “I was very glad to see that I could get back on track in that third or fourth inning.”
• Also, it seems television cameras caught Pettitte mouthing the word “fastball” to Francisco Cervelli during an at-bat. Was his stuff so good it didn’t matter if the hitter knew what was coming? “Oh gosh no,” he said. “I would never.” Pettitte said that’s something he does when he knows the hitter isn’t looking. He does something quick like that so that the catcher doesn’t have to give a sign and they can just move on to the next pitch.
• Pettitte admitted it was a little awkward facing his former team, but there aren’t many guys over there he played with. He was glad to get Lance Berkman out. He called Berkman one of his best friends.
• Girardi said he didn’t give much thought to keeping Pettitte in after the sac bunt in the eighth. “I just thought it was time to go to Joba,” he said. And Joba did the job.
• Girardi called Kevin Russo’s fifth-inning at-bat — coming back from 0-2 to draw a walk and steal second — one of the key’s to the game. Clearly the biggest hit, though, was Cervelli’s two-out, two-run single in the first inning.
• Pettitte is one strikeout shy of tying Ron Guidry for second place on the Yankees all-time list.
• At two hours and 19 minutes, this was the shortest home game of the season. Those of us who had early trains out of Baltimore this morning greatly appreciate it!
• The Yankees are back to 15 games over .500, matching their season high.
Associated Press photos of Pettitte and Cervelli.