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October 30, 2009

Andy Pettitte


Q. Did you feel specifically, when you have your big bats in the middle, Alex and Teixeira who were so wonderful during the regular season and to this point fairly quiet, do you feel personally more pressure when you take the mound to be more fine or more perfect?
ANDY PETTITTE: You know, not really, just because in the playoffs, I mean, I know if you give up more than a couple, two or three runs, over all the years that I've been in it, you're going to take a loss probably or you're going to get a no decision. You just kind of figure that that's just the way it's going to be. The games are going to be low scoring, and really if you make a couple of mistakes during the course of the game, you're probably going to -- you may get hung with a loss, you know?

Q. You spent some time in the National League. When you look at Cole Hamels, do you see any similarities to the young Andy Pettitte?
ANDY PETTITTE: Well, you know, I haven't got to see Cole pitch a whole, whole lot. I know he's got a great change-up. You know, a lot better change-up than I have. I think that's his big pitch, that's his big out pitch. A cutter was mine whenever I was younger. I wish I had the command of my change-up when I was young like he does. But he's had a great run, definitely has had great success last year in the post-season, and I'm sure that he'll be ready for the task here in the World Series.
But to answer your question, he's a little different just from the standpoint of I think his big pitch is his change-up, mine was my cutter whenever I was younger.

Q. I was actually going to ask that question. This is a little off the wall, but when people think about you, they think about you with the cap pulled low and that sort of tunnel vision that you have, staring toward the catcher. It's like the image of you that's engrained in everybody's head. When did that evolve and when did you start doing that?
ANDY PETTITTE: I can't remember exactly when I started doing it. I believe it was in the Minor Leagues. I'm almost sure it was in the Minor Leagues. It started just -- I wanted to just see the mitt, and I felt like if I narrowed the window down that -- sometimes I would see other things. Sometimes I'd pick up maybe just people in the stands behind the catcher and stuff like that, and I'm talking about before you throw a pitch or something like that.
So for me I just wanted to try to simplify it as much as I can and just see the mitt and try to see my ball going to where I want it, almost visualizing the pitches before I throw them and stuff like that. Really for me that's where it all came from is just trying to just hone in on my -- where I'm trying to get that ball to go to.

Q. I understand this isn't your personal circumstance for tomorrow, but what are the biggest challenges for a pitcher when you have to go on three days' rest?
ANDY PETTITTE: I think really probably the biggest thing is -- I'd say a couple things. First of all, mentally just realizing -- you get in such a routine pitching on your fifth day instead of pitching on your fourth day, you know. So it might have a little bit of effect on your body and just how you're feeling and stuff like that. But mentally just not worrying about it. Just realizing you're still going to have your stuff. You're plenty strong enough if you're healthy to be able to go out there and to do it. So you know, just mentally just overcoming that whole thing, because it's now such a big buildup.
If you're feeling healthy and you're feeling strong, there's really no reason why you can't do it. I mean, it's really, I don't believe, that big of a deal. Now, fatigue can set in I think a little bit quicker on your shoulder, later in the game probably, so that's one thing I think -- the other thing that's a big deal.
Other than that, as long as -- if you can be honest with everybody and be honest with yourself whenever you start fatiguing and you cut your work back in between, I mean, I've literally -- I've really felt almost better on those days sometimes than I have on my regular because you won't throw a bullpen in between, so you have literally like three days off. I'm throwing two bullpens in between my starts anyway when I go on my fifth day.
I think a little bit bigger deal is made out of it than it really is, to tell you the truth.

Q. You've been back with the Yankees for a couple years now, and I understand you probably can't get too caught up in this, but does it feel special to you to just be back in the World Series with a Yankee uniform on?
ANDY PETTITTE: It does, no doubt, because this is what I felt like they brought me back over here to try to do, and obviously this is what I came back this year to try to help get accomplished. And so it definitely feels good to be able to be here and to feel like you've contributed and helped this organization get back to this step.
Yeah, to answer your question, it does. I'm proud, proud of the guys, proud of our team. It ain't easy. It ain't easy to do. It ain't easy to do in New York. Just like I'm sure these guys here in Philly know, it's not easy to do here.
Yeah, we all feel very good about what we've been able to do.

Q. You've been in World Series that have lasted four games, five games, six games, seven games. I'm wondering as the World Series moves deeper towards seven games, how much does the tension and excitement elevate even among you guys?
ANDY PETTITTE: You know, it definitely -- I think right now we're still just kind of -- you get a little even keel. Obviously when you start getting into Game 6 and Game 7, a lot of anxiety, and it's just fun. This is what we want to do. This is what we've played all year for. So you also want to make it fun, and you realize the opportunity, you know, that we have here in front of us.
It's definitely exciting, and I'm sure we're going to have a very exciting three games here.

Q. How much hitting will you take, and will it help? And is there any -- I mean, you were in the National League two years ago. Is that of any use to you now?
ANDY PETTITTE: Well, I've already started swinging just a little bit just to try to make sure I don't blow a ribcage out or anything like that when I go up there. I'll take batting practice on the field today, which I haven't done yet, and then you kind of just go at it. Hopefully you can get a bunt down, which I feel pretty comfortable bunting. Really that's the big thing. And then you're just trying to fend for yourself up there because you don't have time to get ready, you know, try to worry about anything as far as trying to get any timing down or anything like that. Hopefully I can get a ball that I can handle and get some barrel on it, and it will be a base hit maybe somewhere if I can get one.

Q. I think you mentioned earlier that in the World Series you expect low-scoring games, and in this particular World Series I think there was a lot of anticipation about the power hitters on both sides and maybe the potential for some high-scoring games. Any surprise at all that it kind of hasn't played out this way? And did you expect it would be kind of the way the first two have gone?
ANDY PETTITTE: It's kind of the way I expected they would go. I mean, really, I obviously had a lot of confidence the way that our starters have been throwing and felt like we were going to continue to pitch well. I hope tomorrow is a low-scoring game, that's for sure. But again, you realize it's not going to be low scoring if you don't pitch well. If you go out and walk guys and not make quality pitches, you're going to get hurt. And I realize that.
It really just all depends on how the starter does, really. I mean, in my eyes that's kind of what it all depends on.

Q. I know career achievements aren't something most players look at until they're retired, but when you think about your career right now and the fact that you're taking part in your eighth World Series, is that almost hard to believe for you? And also, do you think in Game 3 there's a difference going in there 1-1, where the first two rounds you went in 2-0? Is there a different feeling for you going in 1-1?
ANDY PETTITTE: To answer your first question, definitely, like I said, it's unbelievable. Really to be able to say that I'm going to my eighth World Series, a lot of the guys are asking me, "How many this is?" and stuff like that. It's kind of just like at you, like, wow. Again, like I've just said the whole time, I don't even know what to say about it, just that I feel very fortunate, and I think we all feel very blessed to be able to have this opportunity. I just feel real good about that.
And I forgot your other question.

Q. 1-1 versus 2-0?
ANDY PETTITTE: For me it really doesn't matter. I am literally just -- I will take the same approach no matter what. I've got the same routine. I mean, I just try not to let anything faze me as far as that. I mean, I want to do what -- I want to pitch the game that I know that I want to go out there and do, and I hope I can get out there and get everything going. That way I can execute my pitches and get the ball where I want to and hopefully that's going to translate into a successful start.
Seriously, for me that's how simple it is. I mean, I just try to simplify it, whether it's a clincher, whether we'd have been down 2-0, I can't do nothing else except go out and make my pitches, and I can't really control anything other than that, so why worry about it.

Q. This will be only the second time a baseball game has been played on Halloween. Question one, what do you remember about the other one in 2001? And question two, what would you and your family normally be doing on a Halloween night?
ANDY PETTITTE: Well, you know, obviously 2001 I remember that. We were in the Series with Arizona, I believe, and obviously that was special.
To answer the second part of your question, my daughter is extremely upset that I am not going to be home. She's going to be home going to the Halloween carnival at our church, and she did not want to come here. She's going to be doing that, and my kids will be going to that. My wife is flying up here to be with my, but my kids, they want to be home for Halloween and go around trick or treating and do the things that they normally do.
I'm not going to mess with that with them if that's what they want to do.

Q. Why do you think it is generally in your career you've pitched pretty well in a hostile road environment?
ANDY PETTITTE: You know, I'm not real sure. Again, like I've said before, I just feel like I get in a pretty good zone as far as with just -- no matter how loud or how hostile it is or whatever, I can't hear -- I'm able to just tune everything out and I'm able to usually just focus on one thing, and that's trying to make pitches.
I think some guys have a harder time doing that. They let things get in their head or distract them a little bit. But that's just something that I've been able to -- I feel fortunate I've been able to do that, just been able to block stuff out, man.

Q. You've pitched really well this month. Are there any alterations that you as a pitcher at the end of your career sort of make to your routine in terms of running, long tossing or things that have maybe allowed you to maintain it into October?
ANDY PETTITTE: Yeah, I would say, to answer your question, all of the above, really. As I've gotten older, I've realized that I can't do quite the workload as far as the running, as far as quite as heavy of lifting, you know, just because it would take almost -- a little bit too much of a beating on my body.
As far as long tossing, I can't long toss like I used to. Early in the season I long tossed a lot but then towards the end I started backing off. So just things like that. Those are all stuff each year I have to take into consideration and basically read my body, see how I feel and make the adjustments during the course of the season.
You know, I'll try to make adjustments in the course of a season. My shoulder started hurting about a month and a half ago or so. I felt a little bit of aching going on. You kind of make little adjustments right there in my bullpen work for a few starts and stuff like that. So you're always trying to make adjustments as far as that.

Q. You've had both Brad Lidge and Mariano Rivera close games for you in your career. Seeing where Brad has gone over the course of the last 12 months and knowing what you know of Mariano, how much bigger is Mariano's presence in this time of year?
ANDY PETTITTE: Well, Mo's presence this time of year is -- I don't even know how to describe it. I mean, he is just amazing. And I know what obviously he's done in the post-season, but he's just amazing all the time.
I mean, when he comes into the games, you just feel like the game is going to be over. And you hate to put that kind of pressure on somebody and say, hey, this guy is automatic, but it doesn't faze Mo. Mo is as grounded as he possibly could be, and won't let something like that or the praise from us faze him. But to see the way he's dominated this game over the years that he has, and I've said it before, he's dominated this game like I think no one has dominated any sport before. I mean, it's just amazing. It's amazing to see what he's done when I look at what he's done. And he's done it with one pitch. You can't say enough about what Mariano means to this organization and this team and what we've been able to accomplish here over all these years with him closing these games out.

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