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October 6, 2010

Andy Pettitte


THE MODERATOR: Okay, let's get started with Andy Pettitte.

Q. Andy, how do you view your last few starts as far as working on things, trying to get healthy, versus pitching like you normally do?
ANDY PETTITTE: You know, obviously like I told you guys, they weren't obviously the results that I wanted as far as I would have loved to have been able to stretch out, you know, in my innings, get the sixth or seventh inning. Especially after the first start coming back from Baltimore and being able to throw six innings. I was hoping to get it out there, get into a good rhythm and go back and forth. And as far as the innings, continue to build that up. And you know I would have had loved to get my pitch count up to 100 or so, but unfortunately, my second start against Boston I got knocked out early in that game. I wasn't able to build my pitch count up like I wanted to. That was a little frustrating for me and disappointed.
But, you know, my last start against Boston I got to work on some of my cutters a little bit, like I wanted to. But, of course, I would have loved to have been able to get into a great flow of the game and be able to feel like I just put together great sequences and threw a lot of great sequences over the course of a ballgame, you know, and that didn't really happen.
So just looking forward to, you know, making this start tomorrow and getting out there and hopefully get going, get in a good rhythm. Hopefully get a good release point going and putting the ball where I want to put it and give us a good quality start hopefully.

Q. Which is more difficult at this point? Is it the command of the pitches, getting the renewed command, or the endurance, stretching out?
ANDY PETTITTE: I think for me right now just the command is what I would say that, if anything, was in my mind as a worry for me, because my command was so good the whole first half of the season before I got injured. And obviously that has a lot to do with my mechanics and how comfortable I was feeling with them, and just my release point where right where I needed to be all year long, the beginning first half of the season. And I just had a little trouble making those adjustments since I come back off the DL. So hopefully, like I said, hopefully we can get going tomorrow and make the adjustments that I need to make during the course of the game, and be able to put together a good start for us.

Q. Andy, just how much does experience in big games help in the sense that maybe you don't have the command a little bit less, your mechanics aren't working as well, can you reach back and tap into something that maybe a less experienced pitcher wouldn't?
ANDY PETTITTE: I think so. Obviously the experience isn't going to help you as far as if you can't find it, your stuff or whatever. But just for me I know emotionally, you know, whatever happens I'm going to -- I am mentally not going to get out of the game. You know what I'm saying? So I think that the experience will be able to help me as far as that. If I don't locate and I don't get the ball where I want it to be, no matter how much experience I have out there, it's not going to help because I am going to get knocked around probably.
So, you know, you can draw on it a little bit, I guess, to a certain degree, but for me that's mostly just on the mental side. And hopefully, you know, hopefully like I said, hopefully I get it going and won't have to worry about that too much.

Q. I had a reader email me recently saying, what does "command" mean? Pitchers are always talking about command and I gave him a flabby answer. Can you define that for me?
ANDY PETTITTE: Command, especially when you don't have a great fastball as far as -- and I am not talking about just 91 or 92 because in this league that can get hit pretty good, I mean you need to throw upper 90s. And if you don't have great command, you know, you will get knocked around. So just for me command is being able to put the ball where you need to be able to put it with all of your pitches. I mean, and the first half of the season, you know, I was able to have the success I had because I was moving the ball around with all my pitches, not just my fastball. You know, I was able to locate my cutter, was able to locate my change-up down and away whenever I wanted to throw it, and obviously I had real good command of my fastball.
So, you know, that's for me, when I said "command" that's what I'm talking about. And that has to do with you have command with everything. Your mechanics, your release point, the ball coming out of your hand. It is all repetitive and just getting the same feel and release point on each of your pitches.

Q. So it is more than just control?
ANDY PETTITTE: I don't know if I quite understand --

Q. The difference between control and command.
ANDY PETTITTE: Oh, I gotcha. It is. You know, to have command it's something, you know, the control of all of your pitches, being able to get them where you want them in the zone. I don't know if I am answering your question or not very good.

Q. You are doing a good job. Thank you.

Q. Pavano was saying that he treats postseason starts the same as he does regular-season starts, and I wonder if that's the same for you, or if something different does click in with you if you do approach things differently once the postseason gets here opposed to what you do in the regular season.
ANDY PETTITTE: I would say I approach them the exact same way. There's no doubt about it. There is no doubt that there is something different once I get into a postseason game. It's just I don't know mentally if, you know, it's just I definitely feel a little different in a postseason start than I do in a regular-season start. But I would say that I don't approach them any different, but just as you get into the game, as you get going and stuff like that, mentally it just seems that the game is a little bit different as far as your tunnel vision as a pitcher, your focus, just the way you kind of zone in on everything. I would say for me that's the difference. But I don't go out there approaching it any different. I guess the magnitude of the game kind of makes everything a little different for you.

Q. Andy, I think this is your 11th career Game 2 start in the first round. I am wondering is there any comfort level with that spot, if you view any importance in terms of momentum toward Game 2.
ANDY PETTITTE: Again, it is kind of the same way I just answered that last question. I try not to change my approach, no matter what. If we win, we lose. You can't, you know. All I can focus on is just going out there and figuring a way to get those guys out and just to focus pitch by pitch to make a pitch. You know, just go out there and battle. I mean, I'm going to give up -- I usually give up hits. I know during the course of the game there's going to be several times during the course of the game where I will have to make some big pitches and get some big outs. And you just hope that you can dial it up at that time and be able to make that pitch.
So no, I mean, obviously the more you're in these games, you know, the more comfortable you get with it. But I will not change anything, my thinking or anything like that, whether you win or lose. Obviously the magnitude of it kind of gets, you know, played out a little bit if you happen to lose or whatever. But just go out there and try to do my job. Just try to give us a chance to win a ballgame. We've got a great team and that's my approach.

Q. Andy, when you've sat there in the last couple of years and evaluated in the off-season whether you wanted to retire or come back, how much do you think about this time of year and what is the allure like for to you come back and chase another title?
ANDY PETTITTE: You know, I guess I have been thinking about it occasionally. But it's just so hard for me right now because I don't know exactly what I want to do. So I am really able to put it in the back of my mind and know that the focus right now is on just trying to help us win another championship this year. And I just know that when I get home, I just feel like that that's the time for that, to be able to figure that out. So I literally am not thinking about, well, this could be my last start, you know, or anything like that. Just trying to block all that out, worry about the Minnesota Twins right now, what I have got to do to help this club win. And just all that will take care of itself when the season's over.

Q. Andy as a teammate, what kind of competitor did you find Carl Pavano to be?
ANDY PETTITTE: What kind of competitor did I find him to be?

Q. Yeah.
ANDY PETTITTE: Well, you know, you ask me that and I don't want to screw up as far as trying to remember how long we even -- I know that he got hurt and I am not sure if he got hurt in the first year. I believe it was the first year that I came back, I think. I got to build up a great relationship with Carl, and I thought he had a great idea what he was doing, a great idea of how to pitch. I didn't get to pitch with him, you know, very long. And I hate to even say that, but I can't remember how long he was in the rotation whenever I was there that first year.
So like I said last year, I think this question was asked to me, I know there's a lot of kind of, a lot of stuff I guess that went on, but for me for the most part I wasn't there for any of it. Those were the three years that I was in Houston. I still got a good relationship with Carl, and whenever I played with him, the games I saw him pitch he went out and competed. And then obviously he needed Tommy John elbow surgery I believe is what he ended up having. So, you know, unfortunately he got hurt the year that I was over there. But I know that I have been able to see him pitch since he has been over here. He is competing his tail off and doing a great job for these guys. And I am happy he is doing a great job over here for these guys.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Andy.

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