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October 19, 2003

Andy Pettitte


THE MODERATOR: We'll take a few questions for Andy Pettitte.

Q. Can you just talk about your emotions in the ninth inning when the crowd was chanting your name the way they once did for Paul O'Neill?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, I mean, it was very special. It was, for me, personally, it was a very special night to be able to stay out on the mound on the ninth inning and try to have an opportunity to go for a shutout game in the World Series game like that. I had one other chance in 1996 and wasn't able to do it. I wish I was able to do it tonight. But it was nice. Just trying to continue to focus and not get too caught up in that. Just try to make pitches there. I was starting to get a little tired.

Q. First inning, you were throwing a lot of pitches. How big was the double play to get out of that inning? It looked like after that, you kind of sailed?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, it was big. The big thing, again, is when Matsui hits that home run, puts me up three right there. I was struggling with my command in the first inning. I was trying to throw a lot of two-seamers. Kind of tough early just to get a feel and get in a good rhythm. I was missing, falling behind everybody. When he hits the home run right there, I'm able to really start concentrating a little bit more with some four-seamers in the zone. I found out that I had a pretty good fastball. That really set up everything, was really throwing a good cutter tonight. For being on three days' rest, just really thankful I felt as strong as I did.

Q. Could I just ask you, obviously, you didn't feel that good in the first inning, but once you got control of your game, can you tell me how good it felt out there, how in command you felt out there? What does it feel like when you're in that zone in a World Series game?

ANDY PETTITTE: There's nothing better than feeling like you're not gonna give up a whole lot out there on the mound. But then you realize a guy can battle you and get a walk out of you, then maybe a jam shot or whatever and a mistake and you're in trouble. But, again, I felt good. I knew second inning that I had a good cutter and felt like the fastball was coming out of my hand good. I was able to locate it into some right-handers. When I'm able to do that, it really sets up everything for me. I knew I had good stuff. And, more than anything, just continue to try to act like it was a 0-0 ball game and not give them anything.

Q. The appreciation that the fans showed in the ninth inning, do things like that help sway your mind at all about staying here long-term, that you have so much history here? And when you see someone like O'Neill, do you think about that kind of thing?

ANDY PETTITTE: There's no doubt about it that all that stuff comes into play. I mean, this place is special. It was awesome seeing Paul come out and throw that first pitch and just being able to be a part of the World Series again and the playoffs and all the experience that I've been able to have here in the playoffs, being able to have the success with the team, that all plays a part. Again, I hate to talk too much about that stuff right now because there's a lot to be done still. And, again, we'll worry about all that when everything is over.

Q. Have you been surprised at how easily Hideki has fit in on and off the field and what a good overall player he's been?

ANDY PETTITTE: I mean, I wasn't surprised after I saw him. I didn't know how good he was gonna be. I heard he was great and a great power hitter. But just from spring training, watching him in spring training, you realized he was gonna be a good hitter. He's got too good of a swing and he knows what he's doing. His approach is very good. So you knew he was gonna be a good hitter. He's a better outfielder than I think everybody expected him to be. He's been a great addition to our team. He's been awesome for us, no doubt about it. He's stepping up right now in the postseason and that's great to see.

Q. I heard you mention on TV, can you tell us a little bit about the conversation you had with Clemens before the game today?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, just we always talk before our starts and just feel each other out about as far as what's going on in our head and stuff like that a little bit, just to get it off my chest. I know I like to do that. Really was fighting myself a little bit before the game, just thinking in my head how I was gonna feel and worrying about stuff like that before I even went out there and took the mound. I was telling him that I was a little concerned with maybe having to change my approach of where I've been the last couple of months as far as with good, hard stuff because we've been going on a lot of rest. Being short, I was concerned. He just said, "Don't be concerned. That's what we've worked so hard for." It made me feel a lot more comfortable. Jorge told me the same thing, I talked to him, too. I'm just thankful that my arm bounced back and I was able to be as strong as I was tonight.

Q. This postseason after the team starts 0-1, Skipper Joe always said he praised about your mental strength and how much confidence he has in you to be the pitcher that pitches that second game. Let us in about your approach, your mental approach to each of those Game 2s. Also, at the end, your comment about how big it was that it was a three-run home run as opposed to getting you a one-run lead? How much did that help you?

ANDY PETTITTE: So far, after Game 1, all it's been doing this postseason is adding a little more gray hair to my head with going into Game 2 and being down 1. But again, like I said before, I'm never gonna change the approach of what I want to do. Really, that's it. I've pitched so many games, again, and just try to take the same mindset, try to get all my stuff going. Again, the home run you were talking about, it was huge. A three-run homer, that's really what really was able to settle me down. Like I said, I was able to start getting a lot more aggressive in the strike zone and really got them swinging. It helped me keep my pitch count down. Instead of being a solo shot, a three-run homer, that was huge for me.

Q. You don't hear all the remarks in here that Joe Torre said about you that "he's the fella," he has such faith in you, you always come through in the clutch, he knows you always will give the top effort. Tell me your feelings about him. What do you feel about him?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I love him like a father. We've been through so much. Really, I can't tell you much more than that. I love him to death. He's shown the ultimate faith in me. Back in '99, he stuck his neck out on the line for me whenever the team was ready, I think, to part ways with me. He went to bat for me, along with my pitching coach. They stuck their necks out. That's, for both of them, just I can't tell you, I can't express how I feel about them. They mean a whole lot to me, and I'll never forget that. So I'm just very thankful that he's my manager.

Q. Is it difficult not thinking about that you might be making your last start or two as a Yankee?

ANDY PETTITTE: Not really, because, like I said and like I've been saying, I'm so focused on trying to help this team win another championship and I don't really want to get too caught up in that. So it's been very easy for me to set aside that all year. Like I said, we've talked, I've talked about it and been asked so much about it this year, it does pop in my head every now and then. But I've been able to, for the most part, take the mound and focus on the game and I feel like I owe that to my teammates and to the fans to not let anything try to distract me right now.

End of FastScripts...

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