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October 4, 2007

Andy Pettitte


ROB DOELGER: Questions.

Q. Last year when we talked to you before you signed with the Yankees you said you were 50/50 actually leaning towards retiring because of the way your arm felt. Could you have pictured being here going through the season being in a position to start a playoff game again?
ANDY PETTITTE: I definitely felt like if I came back, you know, I knew I would pitch. I felt like the team would be successful. I felt like we'd make the playoffs.
But I didn't -- like I've told you throughout the course of this season, I couldn't imagine -- and at that point I wouldn't have ever imagined my arm feeling as good as it has. I just have had so much trouble with it. And I'm just extremely thankful. You guys have been covering me all year, you know. I'm just very, very blessed, feel very blessed that my arm has held up and I felt strong all year. I haven't had any problems with my elbow this year.
Knock on wood. I'm thankful for that because it's given me a lot of trouble for a long, long time.

Q. You've said that coming back it just felt like you never left in some ways. Now that you're here in the playoffs, does it feel any different at this point?
ANDY PETTITTE: No, it feels just like I thought it would. I mean, we've done this so many times. I've had the opportunity to do this so many times that really, again, I've told you all, I feel like I've been extremely spoiled. And there's no doubt I have been very fortunate to be able to make it to the playoffs every year except last year.
And, you know, I've been able to be very successful. And very thankful for that.

Q. Just going back to what you were saying at the start, why do you think the elbow has held up so much better? Have you done different exercises? Any explanation?
ANDY PETTITTE: I think the only explanation I have is I just think that the two years after surgery now it's just -- it's just strong and those muscles, maybe tendons or whatever, have all gotten stronger and stronger over the last couple of years.
I know last year I felt extremely good for the first half of the season and then it kind of started coming around toward the end of the season.
And I think that was probably just from the fatigue of the long year and throwing a lot of innings. I felt that no matter what, when I started getting close to maybe 180, 200 innings, that from now on for sure my arm would just start hurting. I'm not real sure. I just think that -- I think as you continue to go and get older, too, you have a better routine of what you do, and I'm so -- my day is just so set with my schedule and stuff like that.
So I feel like I put together a pretty good routine over the years as far as taking care of myself.

Q. Why do you think Joe keeps picking you for Game 2?
ANDY PETTITTE: I'm not real sure. Obviously I think that early in my career it was kind of an easier choice, because we had some other veteran, established guys. I think he always wanted to start off with them.
And I think he just got comfortable with putting me in that spot. And even later in my career with the Yankees, Roger was here and Roger usually started Game 1 of the division series.
So it just seems like I was always the candidate for Game 2. And I think now he's got to the point this year it might have been Andy always starts Game 2, might as well pitch him in Game 2 (Laughter).

Q. You pitched a lot of games against Cleveland through the years. A lot of good teams. How does this one compare and contrast to some of the Cleveland lineups you've seen before?
ANDY PETTITTE: What's different about this year for me is I've been gone for three years out of the American League. So I haven't had a chance to face these guys a lot over the last couple of years.
Obviously I faced them this year, the one game here. But you're right, I mean, when we faced them back in '97 and stuff like that, just really, really strong offensive teams. And really I don't know a whole lot about these guys.
Looking at scouting reports, looking at the game we went through against them obviously, I know when I faced them earlier they weren't playing as well as they are now.
The reports on them now are a lot different. So they're a great team. I mean, I know that. They won their division. That's an extremely tough division. They walked away there pretty good towards the end. So this is the playoffs. You know every game is going to be tough. You know every team is going to be tough. We're playing here at their ballpark, so it's going to be a tough game.
Going to try make good pitches, quality pitches and hopefully that will be good enough to give us a W.

Q. Since 2001, the Yankees have lost some tough playoff series to teams that were very hungry to win that hadn't won. Is this Yankees team now one of those hungry teams, do you think?
ANDY PETTITTE: I think so. I mean, when you go -- we went a while now without winning it. So I would say that guys are starting to get a little bit -- a group of us, I think a little bit older now. We don't know how many times you'll have a chance to do this.
So every time you go, it's extremely special. And I think that we're definitely hungry for sure. I think there's a lot of guys in the clubhouse that have never been able to get to a World Series, and I know -- that's one of the reasons why I came back obviously is to try to help, to help maybe try to get us to another World Series and win one, obviously.
But we've got a lot of work to do. But to answer your question, I think the team's extremely hungry.

Q. Younger guys play a large role in that?
ANDY PETTITTE: No doubt. The younger guys here have brought a lot of energy. I think I've said -- I think sometimes the veteran players -- I can look back. You look at guys on our team, crusty old veterans, kind of in bad moods all the time, stuff like that. We've got some young guys that definitely add some life to this team and have played huge parts in helping us be able to get here.
So it's exciting. It's really exciting to see some of the young guys be able to do what they've done this year for this team.

Q. Have you seen Carmona pitch enough to talk about what kind of stuff he has?
ANDY PETTITTE: I have not. I think we saw him -- did we see him I think once this year or twice this year? I think he's got great stuff. I try to see some highlights and I've seen his numbers that he puts up, so you know he's got incredible stuff. He throws awfully hard with great movement. He's going to be tough. It's going to be tough, and that's what you love. You love that about the post-season. You know you're going to see the other team's best arms.
These guys have two -- a 1-2 punch throwing the ball probably as good as anybody in the league. So hopefully our guys we feel really good about our hitters, I think, and where they're at. I think we'll put some real good at-bats and hopefully we can score some runs off of them.

Q. Do you recall the first time you made it to the post-season and some of the things that you felt then and some of the things they might be feeling right now?
ANDY PETTITTE: Just excitement. You work so hard to be able to put yourself in this position, to get there. You know, I just -- I was extremely fortunate whenever I came up in '95 to be able to do it with a group of veteran players, and guys that really made me feel real comfortable. And really, even though I was thrown kind of in the middle of the fire and stuff, again I pitched Game two. But I had so many good people and so much talent around me, I really didn't feel like there was that much pressure on me.
But these guys are a young team and some great players, and I'm sure they're extremely excited about being here. This is what you work your entire life for to be able to do to get to October and hopefully obviously one day be able to get to a World Series and maybe win one.

Q. With Joe Torre naming Ross Ohlendorf and Chamberlain as part of the roster, what can you tell some of the younger guys about going into the post-season because you've been there before?
ANDY PETTITTE: I think the big thing as far as the post-season is obviously everything gets a little bit magnified. Obviously the crowd -- the guys you're talking about are pitchers. When they come in, sometimes there's a tendency to want to overthrow, get a little too excited. If you can relax yourself and control your body and be able to control yourself, be able to do what you've been doing and what's made you be able to be successful to get on the roster.
So really that's it. Just trying to control yourself in all kind of different ways to do that as a professional athlete. But the biggest way is you gotta get out there and get in the middle of it and figure out and be able to handle it. So that's what kind of separates I think some guys that have been able to have success and not. That is probably what separates most people.

Q. You talked about some of the older veterans not knowing how many more times you might get a chance to be here. Early in your career you guys were in the World Series just about every year. Did you almost take for granted a little bit that you would be back in that position?
ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, I mean -- again, you all covered us. I feel like sometimes we just -- we were so spoiled. We were just going every year and you just think it's going to be automatic.
And, again, I've been spoiled. I left, went to Houston. We were able to get back to a World Series in '05. So I've just been so fortunate to be on great teams and just feel so blessed.
So, yeah, it's been a crazy ride. I expect to get to a World Series. That's just kind of the way that my thinking is. And I know it's kind of crazy, because it's not that easy.
But I just think that this team, hopefully we can play the way we'd like to and hopefully we can get through these guys and maybe get to another World Series.
ROB DOELGER: Thank you.

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