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Pettitte: “This is where my heart was”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Mar 21, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

For the purposes of the blog, last night’s Andy Pettitte press conference didn’t come at a great time because the game barely 30 minutes after he finished speaking. I have to drive directly to Port Charlotte this morning, so this seems like as good a time as any to post some highlights. I’ll have notes and a lineup as soon as I get to the Rays spring training complex. For now, here’s Pettitte:

On forcing himself to take it slow
“In my mind, the last few days, I’ve been really set on, ‘You’ve got to take it slow.’ We’ve got plenty of time. I told Larry as soon as I got done (with yesterday’s bullpen), ‘You’re going to have to make me take it slow.’ I feel really good, so maybe that’s just my mentality. It’s going to be hard, but I need to take it slow. I’m glad I feel good right now, but I haven’t done anything in terms of covering bases or running around. I know if I get too far ahead of myself, I could have a setback. I don’t want to have that.”

On when he could be in a big league game
“I know we’ve talked and it’s been out there. I would imagine I probably would need six weeks. I know we’re kind of looking at May 1. Again, I’m not going to set any dates because I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t know what’s going to happen as I come back. I hope everything goes absolutely perfect and everything goes absolutely smooth, but we’ll just see. So we’re trying not to set a target date on that. I’ve got to tell you, I went out to throw my pen today and I said, ‘Larry, I feel like I could be ready in maybe three weeks.’ Obviously he’s like, ‘Whoa! Hold up. No way on that.’ I’m just going to see how it goes. The stamina, I’m going to have to build up the stamina to be able to throw 100 pitches and that’s going to take a little while to get there.”

On whether there’s any concern that this might not go well
“Not really. There’s not. There’s really not just because I know that could happen. I know I could hurt something. I could go out and I could blow my elbow out again, but I’m not scared of that. A lot of people have talked to me about, you went out and you pitched great (in your last season). But that never was that important to me. It’s a great opportunity. The Yankees gave me a great opportunity. It’s a great challenge. I think as a man sometimes you want to follow your heart and you want to do what you feel is the right thing to do, but it’s also, I feel like it’s a good challenge also to see if I can get back to where I was. That’s what I look at it as. I know, no matter what happens, that I have prayed about this decision with my family and with my kids for an awful long time, and we all feel good about it, and we all feel right about it. No matter what happens, I’m going to be good with it, because I feel like it’s the right thing to do in my heart. It may not be a happy ending from a standpoint of me getting hurt and me not being able to do what I feel like I want to do, and that’s help us get to a World Series and help us win a World Series. That’s the plan. I realize it might not work out that way.”

On whether he’s been surprised by his early progress
“Today I’m not surprised. When I started throwing I was a little surprised. But that’s when I was able to be over the hump as far as saying I felt like I could get back mentally to where I was. I’ve been throwing a lot. I hadn’t been working out, but I’d been throwing so much, so my arm has always been feeling really good with the kids throwing so much. But a couple of weeks ago in my pens at the house, it’s like you just start feeling it. I just started feeling it. I was like, ‘I can feel this again. I can feel the pitches going where I want them to.’ I am a little surprised that I felt as good as I did today, that quickly. We’ll just have to see where it goes. Hopefully it will continue to get that good. I guess I am a little surprised, but I’m not shocked because when this decision was made to say I feel like I could fully do this, this is where I expected it to get to.”

On his evolution as a pitcher
“I feel like I came into the league as a more complete pitcher, and then I learned the cutter and then it was just more hard cutters, hard four-seamers in. I kind of feel like I wasn’t quite the complete pitcher and I lost the feel for my changeup and really struggled there. I was still able to be successful because I was on great teams, but I struggled from the standpoint of just trying to command both sides of the plate with my changeup. I think I said it, when I had my elbow surgery in Houston and my velocity came way down, I felt like that was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me as far as just learning how to pitch again. I came back early from the flexor tendon surgery and my velocity was way down, and I had to learn how to throw my changeup again and control the outside corner. The evolution of that and me being able to figure that out again, and then me being able to come back to the Yankees the last four years that I was here, just being able to control both sides of the plate. I wouldn’t be able to do this, especially not in this division, if I wasn’t able to throw the ball and all my pitches to both sides of the plate.”

On whether he would have considered pitching elsewhere
“When I came the first day of spring training this year (as a guest instructor), I knew that I needed to let Cash know that I was interested in pitching, let him and Hal (know). So the day I got here I told them that. It wasn’t like I got here and I had a bug to play because I was around the guys or whatever. That would never have anything to do with me making a decision of this magnitude, just getting a little bit of a bug being around the team. I knew it was something I was considering to do, and I thought they would probably sign me within a couple of days and I would be ready for Opening Day, so obviously it’s taken a little bit of time to get to where we’re at. There’s no doubt, I had to think, ‘Well my goodness, this is getting difficult to try to figure out if they really want to bring me back here. Should I even consider doing it anywhere else?’ When me and my wife talked about it and there was no considering going anywhere else. Obviously I think I could have probably considered other places and got a lot more money, but this is where my heart was. I had no desire to go anywhere else.”

Associated Press photo





57 Responses to “Pettitte: “This is where my heart was””

  1. Ys Guy March 21st, 2012 at 9:10 am

    after pineda’s last outing there was discussion on here about how he doesnt quite have verlander’s velocity, after last night’s it how this 23 y/o’s not quite like mo.

    good think we’re keeping our expectations in check!


  2. blake March 21st, 2012 at 9:10 am

    “i don’t like his body language. it looks sloppy and rushed at times.”

    See he just looks loose to me….he’s a kid….his body language is like a kids.

    I was skeptical of what Andy would be when I first heard he was coning back….and instill am a little….but the more I hear him talk the more confident I am that he wouldn’t have done this if he 100% thought he’d be successful and be close tonwhat he was when he left. I wouldn’t count on it totally….but if he is boy that is a difference maker come playoff time….that 2nd Lefty and big game starter coukd be huge stacked between Pineda/Kuroda/Nova/Hughes however that shakes out.

  3. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:10 am

    AP embodies greatness.

    Whether he actually throws a single pitch or not I’m glad he’s around the team.

    Maybe some of what he has will just rub off on the kids, or be absorbed by simple osmosis.

    But it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit if he wins 10-15 games and appears in the playoffs.

    Take your time Andy. Stay healthy.


  4. Ys Guy March 21st, 2012 at 9:13 am

    i can think of a 2 time super bowl mvp who had ‘body language’ problems, too!


  5. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:14 am

    By the way, Am I correct in my math by saying that you cannot divide 7 into 5 evenly ?


  6. blake March 21st, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Im excited to see Phil pitch today and see if he can continue what’s he’s been doing… should be a test for him….the Rays will likely have several regulars in there and his will be more like a normal start. I want to see the velocity still there deep into the game…..I want to see the command be there …..and I want to see him continue to locate a better breaking ball. Big day for Phil…..keep the ball rolling in the right direction.

  7. upstate kate March 21st, 2012 at 9:15 am

    I loved hearing how Russell Martin insisted on catching Andy’s BP, even tho Martin was catching the game later on.

  8. Erin March 21st, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Bryan Hoch ?@BryanHoch Nick Swisher reports improvement; will stay at Steinbrenner Field all day for treatment

  9. randy l. March 21st, 2012 at 9:16 am

    “good think we’re keeping our expectations in check!”


    i’m trying to help you guys out.

    you can’t put ten people on one end of a see saw and expect to have any fun.

    you just sit there.

    i’m kind of up in the air alone on my end of the see saw right now, but i expect to get some “help” once the season starts.

    you should be getting airborne in about three weeks.

  10. Ys Guy March 21st, 2012 at 9:17 am

    mtu, you are absolutely correct, so to deal with the problem on the 5th day, 2/7ths of hughes and 3/7ths of garcia will start with 1/7th of pettitte backing them up.

    problem solved, what’s next?


  11. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:17 am


    I won’t be able to see it but I think you will.

    More of the same that we’ve been seeing all Spring.

  12. CountryClub March 21st, 2012 at 9:20 am

    The scout who first alerted me last year that Phil Hughes and his velocity were a concern last spring has a much different report this spring.

    “I feel like he is throwing almost better than he ever has,” the scout said.

    Hughes starts in Port Charlotte against the Rays on Wednesday afternoon on ESPN. So far, Hughes has given up just one-run in 8 1/3 innings, which means a little more because Hughes knows he is fighting to win a job.

    “Unless, he has a setback, he has to be a starter,” the scout said.

    Hughes, who arrived overweight a year ago, entered Tampa in shape and ready to go. Today, he will try to build on what he has accomplished thus far.

    The Yankees agree. They look at Hughes as a starter. They think he can be the 2010 first half Hughes. He came into camp in much better shape and, according to the scout, has been throwing 92-93 and sometimes 94 with a nice sink.

    “That good curveball seems to have comeback,” the scout said.

  13. blake March 21st, 2012 at 9:20 am


    Im hoping to catch some of it….ill tape it and watch the rest later.

  14. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Thank’s Y’s -

    You solved it. I wondered if fractions were allowed in MLB.


    IMO there is not one thong wrong with you being a contrarian on Pineda.

    Not that you needed my approval.

    I think it’s good that you put your honest observations out there.

    Takes courage to go against the herd.

    In this particular case I would prefer that you are wrong though.

    So I hope you don’t mind.


  15. blake March 21st, 2012 at 9:23 am

    This started with Hughes late last year….when pitched in the playoffs the ball was jumping out of his hand again and its carried over to this season…..he’s looked fantastic this not only because of the arm strength but because of the command up down in out in the strike zone.

  16. Ys Guy March 21st, 2012 at 9:23 am

    believe me, i know the first time pineda goes out and lays an egg its gonna be insane in here, people are just waiting with thier knives behind their backs for it to happen.

    however, i won’t be one of them. i am a patient man and i’m very familiar with the learning curve for a young fireballer.

    besides, the guy already can’t breathe without someone critiquing his rate of respiration.

  17. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Thong ? Oops ! Meant to say “thing”.

    Must be the movie I watched yesterday. “The girl with the Dragon tatoo”.



  18. Erin March 21st, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Ys Guy March 21st, 2012 at 9:23 am
    believe me, i know the first time pineda goes out and lays an egg its gonna be insane in here


    and inevitably, Montero will go 4-4 with a grand slam for Seattle the same day. ;)

  19. Ys Guy March 21st, 2012 at 9:29 am

    if i were the yankees instead of having someone around to help pineda speak and read english better, i’d have someone around to PREVENT him from reading and comprehending english better, especially on blogs…

  20. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:29 am

    There is a great deal of Optimism floating around about Hughes.

    Y’s -

    Patience is required when it comes to developing young starters.

    Very few pop out of the oven ready to go like Tim Lincecum.

    One of the reasons the Yankees have not been as successful with some of their guys previously is because they did not exercise enough patience with them.

    They seem to have learned something. At least I hope so.

  21. CountryClub March 21st, 2012 at 9:30 am

    blake March 21st, 2012 at 9:23 am
    This started with Hughes late last year….when pitched in the playoffs the ball was jumping out of his hand again and its carried over to this season…..he’s looked fantastic this not only because of the arm strength but because of the command up down in out in the strike zone.


    Agreed. You could see his stuff return late last yr.

  22. Benny Blanco March 21st, 2012 at 9:31 am


    You said it perfectly yesterday. Phill looks like he’s throwing the ball very easily. Last year it seemed like he was forcing velocity on the ball. The ball seems to be coming out of his hand very smoothly. He’s not pushing the ball to homeplate.

  23. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Phil Hughes just needs to stay healthy.

  24. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:36 am

    Can you imagine Hughes with his great FB, a wicked curve, and a put away Mr. Splitty ?

    Makes my mouth water.


  25. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Ditch the cutter and circle change Phil.

    Listen to ole’ MTU.


  26. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:39 am


    It’s Ok to incorporate a 2-seamer later on to induce more GB’s.

    maybe next season.


  27. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Phil Hughes.

    The AL’s comeback player of the year.


  28. Ys Guy March 21st, 2012 at 9:46 am

    there was a very sizeable phil fan club here a few years ago, especially during the trade discussions for johan santana. unfortunately many of the members have stopped coming here.

    i’ve always been on phil’s bandwagon and still am. once again its not a straight line from prospect to success for a starting pitcher, there are always going to be dry spells.

  29. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Here’s a silly thought.

    If the people at API are so good at getting Pitchers in shape why not hire some of them for your training staff ?


  30. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:48 am

    Y’s -

    I just want all of guys to do good.

    It’s better that way.

    More pleasure per square inch.


  31. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Time to start preparing for the day.

    Enjoy the new and improved version of Phil Hughes.

  32. randy l. March 21st, 2012 at 9:50 am

    “If the people at API are so good at getting Pitchers in shape why not hire some of them for your training staff ?”


    there you go thinking again.

    that could get you in trouble .

  33. randy l. March 21st, 2012 at 9:52 am

    for what it’s worth , i’m on the hughes bandwagon.

    i think he’s going to have a good year.

  34. MG March 21st, 2012 at 9:52 am

    I’m a big Phil Hughes fan, I like his stuff and his demeanor on the mound.

    He’s been throwing the ball really well all spring, even in his 1st start where he gave up some hits and runs (I was at the game) and I expect it to continue into the season.

    If he continues to throw like this he has to be in the rotation or the Yankees will have given up on him, something I’m not expecting.

  35. pat March 21st, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Someone may be looking for a starter…..

    JoeStrauss reports Chris Carpenter headed back to St. Louis to have bulging disk in neck checked.

  36. blake March 21st, 2012 at 9:53 am

    “Someone may be looking for a starter…..”


  37. upstate kate March 21st, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I am a long time Phil phan I actually found this blog from Phil’s blog.

  38. pat March 21st, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Does baseball have restrictions about teams getting involved in off season workouts like football does?

  39. blake March 21st, 2012 at 10:06 am

    The breaking ball Hughes has thrown this spring still isn’t ideal… like to see him throw it harder but its much better than before and is at least workable now if he locates it. The arm strength being back means more spin and more spin means more bite…..

  40. Chip March 21st, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Note from last night that was probably not interesting to anyone other than me. At one point the Pirates were sporting a former Yankee minor league battery with McCutchen throwing to Fryer.

    Trivia Question: Who did the Yankees traded to get Fryer and who did they trade him for?

  41. Chip March 21st, 2012 at 10:09 am

    And since I haven’t been around since the “drama” started I would like to go on record and say I have no problem whatsoever with the way Freddy Garcia has chaffed at Andy’s return.

    When Garcia was signed the Yankees had 4 other starters. Since then they have added three and subtracted one and now Freddy, coming off a strong year, finds himself competing for a job against a former Yankee phenom and a Yankee icon…if I was him I would be ticked off too.

  42. blake March 21st, 2012 at 10:11 am

    “if I was him I would be ticked off too.”

    Sure….but do you blame the Yankees?

  43. Tackelberry March 21st, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I think the concerns about Pineda can ease up a bit now that he’s up to 94 on the gun. I always thought they were a little ridiculous being that it was so early in the Spring. Nothing wrong with a guy taking it slowly at the beginning of Spring and gradully letting it loose more and more as he continues to build up arm strength. I think Pineda will be fine. The only reason people are going crazy over this is becuase it was Montero he was traded for. If he had been traded for someone like Austin ROmine nobody would be going this crazy over it

  44. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Freddy’s gonna do fine.

    If he doesn’t wind up pitching for the Yankees someone else will be more than glad to have him.

    He’s entitled to feel as he wishes just like the Yankees are entitled to do what’s best for their club.

    Things sometimes change I’m sure the Yankees did not intend to screw Garcia.

    Just the way things worked out.

    Whatever happens I wish him well.

  45. Chip March 21st, 2012 at 10:26 am

    blake March 21st, 2012 at 10:11 am

    “if I was him I would be ticked off too.”

    Sure….but do you blame the Yankees?

    No not at all – this isn’t a situation where anyone should be blamed. It sucks for Garcia and I get why he’s bitter but I think he also understands why the Yankees did what they did.

  46. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Here’s an early morning piece of trivia.

    The Mormon religion is kinda’ an ecclectic one (that’s being nice).

    When they 1st came to southern Utah they gave our national park it’s name- Zion.

    The name was taken from the Jewish religion.

    As were many of the famous spots there.

    For example, there is a place called the “Court of the Patriarchs” which has 3 peaks named “Issac,
    Abraham, and Jacob”.

    They’re all magnificent by the way.

    That ends today’s little History lesson.


  47. Ys Guy March 21st, 2012 at 10:28 am

    mets are desparate for pitching and now supposedly have some money available. plus you’d be throwing freddy a bone by hooking him up in NY so he doesnt have to move in-season. idk what they have that we would want but they could sure use him.

  48. blake March 21st, 2012 at 10:29 am

    “No not at all – this isn’t a situation where anyone should be blamed. It sucks for Garcia and I get why he’s bitter but I think he also understands why the Yankees did what they did.”

    Yup…it does suck for Freddy but that’s life

  49. LGY March 21st, 2012 at 10:31 am

    This is what Girardi said publicly when Garcia signed

    Spoke with Joe Girardi today; he’s happy Garcia re-signed and said the veteran won’t have to compete for a rotation spot – he’s got one.

    Garcia’s displeasure with the Yankees should be based on what the Yankees told him when they reached a deal.

    Unfortunately, we do not know what was said behind closed doors.

  50. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Edit: That’s “Isaac” by the way.

    Shame on me.


  51. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 10:34 am

    Keep Freddy in the Rotation.

    Send Pineda to the Gulag.

    Nah. Scratch that.


  52. blake March 21st, 2012 at 10:35 am

    The Yanks should probably advise Joe to avoid publically guaranteeing rotation spots in December.


    Thank you professor :)

  53. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 10:37 am


    I’m glad someone appreciated it.


  54. MTU March 21st, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Have a great day.

    I’ll check back later for the post game report.

    Go get ‘em Phil.


  55. Bronx Jeers March 21st, 2012 at 10:52 am

    He’s gettin his $$$ regardless of where, when and how he pitches.

    As the guy from that movie said…it ain’t sho’ friends, it’s show business.

  56. Erin March 21st, 2012 at 10:57 am

    New Post: Martin leading off in Port Charlotte


  57. Duh Innings March 21st, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Hey Chad where’s “On the possibility Pettitte may be called upon to be a witness in the Roger Clemens perjury trial beginning next month”?

    Where are your thoughts on the Cashman-Neathway situation and A-Rod’s ridiculous credit card dispute (a man making $29M this year who doesn’t want to pay a credit card bill of $17,604 he rang up like a drunken sailor via his niece?) You do know the Yankees are whole people with lives beyond the baseball diamond, right? Obviously not.

    You truly live in a vacuum and are a joke of a blogger.

    I would love for you to ban me so I can’t post on here anymore, but I’ll do you and I’m sure many of you a big favor and stop posting because it’s clear to see you people don’t read i.e. read the New York Post and/or New York Daily News and you live in a vacuum as well. How you can talk about the Yankees without reading the Post and/or Daily News is beyond me a those two sports sections are prerequisite reading for anyone who wants to talk Yankees. Besides the endless prattle about Montero, Montero vs. Pineda, the starting pitcher prospects (who are so good the Yanks re-signed 35-36 and 39 year olds in Garcia and Pettitte and signed 37-year old Kuroda for the rotation), and prospects in general.

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