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October 20, 1998

Andy Pettitte

SAN DIEGO: Game Three

Q. With all the stuff that's gone on off the field, especially with your dad, how difficult is it to concentrate on pitching?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I think if I would have had to throw in New York, it would have been real difficult, but I had a chance to talk to him this morning, and he had a blood transfusion yesterday, and he's feeling a hundred percent better. I feel great about everything back home, and I don't think it's going to be a problem at all.

Q. What about the long time between pitching, and what have you been able to do to stay sharp?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, whenever I was home with my father I had an opportunity to throw in a bullpen, and we've been throwing in bullpens. That's always a concern of mine, when we have a long period of time off. So I feel like I was throwing the ball pretty good in the bullpen and pretty sharp, and hopefully I'll be able to do that tomorrow.

Q. Where did you throw back home, at a high school?

ANDY PETTITTE: At my high school back home. Whenever I get a chance, I go up there and throw.

Q. Who caught you?

ANDY PETTITTE: A friend back home.

Q. Was there any sense of disappointment on your part about not being used earlier in the series?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, with everything that went on, that was really -- obviously I would have liked to have pitched in Yankee Stadium or whatever, but with all that went on with my father, after I found out that had happened, it really wasn't a big concern of mine, it was probably the best thing. I don't know mentally if I would have been able to pitch at Yankee Stadium, if I had had a chance to.

Q. How much will you look at the twilight tonight, and does that come into play, pitch selection, location, anything like that?

ANDY PETTITTE: No, not really. I hope they have a hard time seeing. You try to get out and see what you have. And hopefully I have good stuff. I'm going to try to keep the ball down. We had a practice yesterday, and maybe for a little while, maybe the first inning or second inning it might have a little affect.

Q. Are you looking forward to hitting?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, I guess so. That's always fun, at least just going up there. You really don't expect to do too much, kind of got exposed in the '96 World Series, and wasn't able to do anything. Maybe I can get a bunt down, if I have to in a big situation, and that's all I'm really looking at trying to do.

Q. When you went home did you and your dad talk baseball at all or what did you talk about?

ANDY PETTITTE: No, we didn't really -- he wasn't in a state to really be able to talk. I found out at 5 o'clock on Wednesday, got on the first flight home, and got in about 1 o'clock in the morning and met him at the hospital at 5 the next morning, and he had the surgery. And when I left he was still in ICU, and he had tubes in him and stuff like that, so he could barely talk to me. He always talked about baseball, he told me don't worry about him, he's going to be fine, and get ready to pitch my game.

Q. Can you talk about -- what did go through in your mind when you first heard about it, and was baseball one of the least things you were thinking about?

ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, definitely. Whenever you get a call like that, thinking of his future and his life is all that really matters to you. Baseball wasn't really on my mind when I was at Yankee Stadium the first couple of days. You're just out of it a little bit. I feel a lot better, and I feel a lot more positive about everything that's going on now, especially since I got to talk to him the last couple of days.

Q. How do you put in perspective now the performance you had against Texas, versus your next outing, which was sub-par?

ANDY PETTITTE: You try to think about the Texas start and what you were doing and stuff. And basically I'm going to try to throw away the Cleveland start. I felt very strong in that game, and my command was just terrible. And then when I did feel like I got a little bit in the groove, that's when I got a couple of balls up and stuff. That's the game mentally I don't think I was right. And I don't know why, but I'm going to try to throw that one out the window, and think about how I threw against Texas.

Q. Is Game 5 of the '96 series, still a source of your confidence?

ANDY PETTITTE: That was two years ago, and obviously it's a great game to remember about, and I remember the game very well. But like I've said before, the first game of a World Series was something I'll remember also, that I got killed in. So as far as thinking that I can -- knowing that I could throw a good game in the World Series, sure. But you just go out, see what you've got, and hopefully I can throw a good game.

Q. If you have to write a report card on your pitching to this point, what kind of summation would you make about your season?

ANDY PETTITTE: I'd give myself maybe a B- or so. And again, it's kind of embarrassing to say I won 16 games, that's a lot of ballgames to win in the Big Leagues, but I kind of am a little harder on myself, and I feel like it was a little bit more of a struggle than it's been in the past. And mechanically I've been messed up, I feel like, and sometimes when your mechanics go, you start to get hit a bit, and mentally you lose a little bit. There's a lot of things that factor in. But that was a big confidence booster to go out and throw the way I did against Texas in the first game of the playoffs. And I hope I can throw another one like that.

Q. Do you block out recent struggles, and previous -- the problems this season, and concentrate on previous seasons, and have you seen anything that Wells and El Duque have done that would help you?

ANDY PETTITTE: I'm not going to dwell on the problems I've had this year, and I'm going to think positive. You need to be positive, instead of negative out there. And as far as watching Wells, it looked to me like they're a very good fastball hitting team. I'm going to go out and try and mix-up my pitches. He's so much of a different pitcher than I am, Wells, and his stuff right now has just been, and all year has just been unbelievable, his location has been great. So I'll go out and see what I've got.

Q. If the Yankees win tonight you'll be pitching in what might be a sweep, and closing out a great season, would you comment on that?

ANDY PETTITTE: Well, it's been a great season, it's been unbelievable the way we've played. And that would be a great way for I guess me to end this -- I guess dismal season or sub-par season I've had to be able to do that. So I know Cone is going to throw a great game tonight, and hopefully we have an opportunity to close this thing out maybe.

Q. Yankee pitching is 9 and 1 in postseason pitching, are you surprised at how the pitchers have dominated?

ANDY PETTITTE: I'm not surprised. They've done it before. For El Duque to come in, and being his first year in here, obviously he's a great pitcher, and just to see what he's done in the postseason, that's been pretty amazing to watch him. We've had a strong pitching staff all year, and we feel like that's been our strength. And obviously we've got a great line-up, also, and when they hit it adds to it. But we knew what kind of pitching staff we have and we've got a great bullpen, also. We've been able to get on a run here in the postseason.

End of FastScripts…

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