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October 1, 2002

Andy Pettitte


THE MODERATOR: Questions for Andy Pettitte, please.

Q. Joe just talked about you coming back from that injury, learning how to pitch again instead of throwing. Can you just talk about your progression since you've come back to the team?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, you know, it's -- it's been very gratifying for me from where I came from, you know, in spring training, when I hurt my elbow. Felt that I was fully healthy again and cranked it back up for the regular season. Never felt real strong but felt like it was gonna come. Then went down to Boston, really injured it pretty good. So, you know, just being down in Tampa, being out for so many months and never really missing that much time before, you know, in my career, missing that long of a period at one time, it took me a while when I came back. Took me a few starts to get back in the routine of things, to get my arm strength back to where it needed to be. It was a long process. Really, at times, I didn't think I was going to see -- couldn't really see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's been a good second half. The team's played great for me. Me and Jorge got in a very good rhythm as far as calling the game and stuff like that for me. It's just been a real gratifying second half.

Q. Can you remember coming into the postseason on as good a roll as you personally have been on over the last, say, two months?

ANDY PETTITTE: No, I don't remember having, you know, as good a second half and having good stuff for, you know, as many starts as I have here in the second half. I don't think I've come into, you know, a postseason -- I've come into postseason throwing a few good games in a row, I've come into the postseason throwing a couple terrible games in a row. It feels good. Obviously, I feel good right now about where I'm at. And just, you know, looking forward to trying to give us some good quality starts here in the postseason.

Q. Every time we're here, every year we're here for these postseason news conferences, every time you're pitching, Joe mentions Game 5 in Atlanta, 1996. Every single year. You have friends and teammates, former teammates in the game who have played on different teams, different managers. Can you talk about how important it is to you and how you think it affects you on the field to have history with this one manager, so that every time you even have any rough patches, you know you can talk about, "Well, we had this in '97 or this in '99..."

ANDY PETTITTE: Just it was a long question, just to try to get -- I think to answer what you're asking, it's nice to have Joe as a manager. Obviously, he's a player's manager. He's always bringing up things in the past. He doesn't forget about that. That's very, you know -- for a player, you appreciate that, you know? I feel like I've worked hard here and given everything I can to this organization and pitched as hard as I could. And, you know, he remembers that. He remembers, I think, that, you know, I struggled in Game 1 and I was able to come back and pitch a good Game 5 for us. You know, that's, you know, that was something special for me to do. With a lot of pressure on me at a very young age and stuff like that. For me to be able to look back and think about that game, I have some history with being able to pitch and under some tough situations, stuff like that. You can bring that into a game, you can remember all that. But, again, every year is different and mindset's different, usually, each year and stuff like that. I don't know if I've answered your question. But it's very nice having, obviously, Skip as a manager, being through all the things that we've been through over the past seven years here since I've been with him.

Q. What do you do to be effective in shutting down running games? How important is that to your overall success?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, it's important, obviously. I usually, you know, I give up some hits and I try -- I feel like my walks have been pretty good. Usually, I have some base runners out there. It's big for me to cut down the running game. I feel like that everybody knows I've got a good pick-off move. They kind of hang a little bit closer to the base. They may try to do a few more things as far as hitting and running, stuff like that. I'm going to try to pitch my same game, stay ahead in the count, get ahead, be aggressive and don't put myself in counts where they can get some stuff moving and move some base runners, stuff like that.

Q. When you first came back during the regular season, was there a hesitancy to cut loose? Was there a feeling-out period where you wanted to make sure you were healthy?

ANDY PETTITTE: You know, first few games back, I guess it was kind of there in the back of my mind a little bit. I was healthy. I wasn't having any pain in my elbow when I came back. I made sure of that. You know, when I first came back, I thought I was healthy, I thought I was 100 percent and ready to go as far as my arm strength, mental preparation. But I realized I wasn't. Took me a few games, I can't remember exactly how long, two, three starts right when I came back. You know, like I said in the past, I was kind of in slow motion. I realized my arm strength wasn't there, my mental stage wasn't there. Wasn't until about three or four starts after that I started feeling like my velocity in my fastball was coming back, the strength on my curveball and stuff like that.

Q. When you look up-and-down the Angels' line-up, what are some of your concerns?

ANDY PETTITTE: Obviously, always going postseason, your concerns are the leadoff guys, the leadoff guys, second batter. You know there's some power coming up after that. So you try to eliminate those guys from getting on base. That's going to be a key factor for all of us. If they are, obviously, you got to be careful. I know Garrett's had a great year. He's hit me pretty well in the past. So, you know, I'll try to pay close attention to him and try to be tough on him. I don't try to factor in on one person. I want to go out, make my pitches, try to make quality pitches and, you know, hopefully I can be successful just doing that. But I just say right off the top, "No walks, cut down on walks and get the, you know, Eckstein and Erstad," they get on base and cause problems. They got some speed and can do some damage with the guys coming after them.

Q. Has there been a specific key to your postseason success over the years?

ANDY PETTITTE: I don't think so. I mean, you know, we've had great teams, you know? We've had great teams and we've had a great bullpen. I've been able to give us some good starts and, you know, like I say, I've been able to give us some bad starts too, you know? Sometimes you remember those a little bit more. But just, you know, I'm in a good situation here. My career, it's just been great. I've had good surroundings. You know, again, I feel like we can raise it to a different level once we get to the postseason and the focus gets a little bit better. Those are probably a few of the things that helped me have a little bit more success up here in the postseason.

End of FastScripts�.

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