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October 10, 2001

Andy Pettitte


Q. Joe had referenced the big game that you pitched in the '96 World Series, the Yankees beating John Smoltz. Looking back then, when you look back at that game is that one that helped you grow up as a big-time post-season pitcher?

ANDY PETTITTE: I think so. It gives you something, I guess, just to lean on. To have as bad as a start as I did to start Game 1 of the World Series, and then to be able to come back, Atlanta, when the series was tied 2-2, to be able to pitch that game, you know makes kind of everything else simple when you think of the pressure I was under that game. So gives you something to lean on, and I was younger back then; I feel like if you can handle that, you can handle pretty much anything.

Q. Is the swelling in your arm a non-issue at this point?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, I was able to throw in Tampa. It felt good. So I'm not icing the arm anymore. It feels pretty much back to normal.

Q. You struggled a little coming down the stretch this year. Have you been able to point your finger to anything?

ANDY PETTITTE: Not really. You're right I was very inconsistent. After pitching for four months into the season I was nowhere near the finish I wanted to have. It was just a stretch -- it seems like I always have a stretch during the course of the season I go through; it's a tough time. This year, it happened at the end of the year, and then just the thing with -- the thing that happened on September 11, we had a couple of weeks layoff and I only had one start and then got hit by a line drive. So really the last month is really just inconsistent for me, also. I was trying to just get back on the mound and try to get comfortable just pitching again after the kind of layoff that I had.

Q. Is it too simplistic to say your approach is to say don't let Jason Giambi beat you?

ANDY PETTITTE: I hate to go into any kind of game with that approach because these other guys are big league hitters too, and have done a lot of damage. They have got a lot of guys now, they have got Dye behind him now batting clean-up, a very good right-handed hitter against left-handed pitching. So their lineup presents a lot of problems. You've got to be good and make good pitches. Same old story when you get to the post-season. If you make quality pitches you are pretty much going to be all right. They have got a great lineup. They are very disciplined. Jason is obviously a great hitter. But I'm going to approach every hitter like it's Jason up there hitting, I guess I would have to say.

Q. Does your post-season experience give you an advantage over the A's?

ANDY PETTITTE: I'd like to say so, kind of, in a sense. I think that we are very confident. I think over the years, no matter how we have come into the playoffs whether it's been hot or whether it's been cold, we've been able to adapt to it. We got into a hole last year losing Game 1, but we were in the playoffs last year and went through a tough series and went through it with them last year. They have had a year growing up from last season, and it's going to be a tough series. They have got a great team. Hopefully we can play solid baseball. Hopefully we can do the little things we need to do to win games, don't make errors, cut the walks down and stuff like that and hopefully we'll be able to win the series.

Q. Obviously, you play 162 games to get to this position; can you talk about the anticipation of getting the feeling to pitch in Game 2?

ANDY PETTITTE: Every time we start the year, this is what we start to try to get to. The last week after we clinched, it's kind of like, "Let's go, let's just get to the playoffs." But it's exciting, we started season, and obviously when we start the season now, playing for the Yankees, the plan is that it's not really going to be a successful season unless we win the World Series. We're here, we've got a chance to take the first step in this series here. That's exciting. I think everybody is very excited. Some of the moves we made in the off-season, Mussina has had a great year for us and he's going to be going here with us. I think everybody in the clubhouse is ready for it to all start.

Q. Can you talk about Clemens influence on your career?

ANDY PETTITTE: He's obviously been a big influence. Again, I've said it a hundred times; it was nice for me growing up younger, high school age, watching him; and now grown up and watching him and working with him. He's been a big influence on me, as far as, you know, the strength work and conditioning and stuff like that that I've done. I feel like it's helped me; obviously increased my velocity and stuff like that a little bit. And just seeing him, just his approach that he takes to the game, and his mentality that he takes to the game, takes to the mound every chance that he pitches. You know, he's obviously been a big influence on my career so far.

Q. How is a pitcher affected by Oakland's patience and selectivity?

ANDY PETTITTE: Again, if you try to start the corners -- if they bring you to the middle of the plate; you're going to get hurt. Mel has preached to us, and I've done a better job with my walks and stuff like that, just to be more aggressive early in the count. I feel like all of the pitchers in our staff have good stuff. There's no sense in nibbling on the corners and stuff all night long. Just try and take more of the plate the first pitch. We've all got movement; hopefully that takes over and you can get some quick outs. But if you start ball one, ball two to them, they are going to get you in count where you have to come to the plate and come out over the heart of the plate; and obviously, that's where they are going to hurt you.

End of FastScripts....

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