TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -Joe Girardi spent his first day as manager of the New York Yankees mapping out plans for spring training, not sitting in front of a television watching the congressional hearing on steroids in baseball.
No team has been affected more by fallout from the Mitchell Report, which contained allegations that Roger Clemens and current Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte used performance-enhancing drugs.
Still, Girardi is determined not to let that become a distraction.
``I've seen Andy go through difficult times and rise to the occasion and be able to focus on the task at hand,'' Girardi said. ``I know Andy Pettitte's heart, and I know come April he'll be ready to go.''
Pettitte was given permission to report late to camp. The Yankees also held a seven-hour meeting Wednesday in which Girardi, general manager Brian Cashman and other staff members discussed the entire roster.
congressional lawyers that Clemens informed him nearly a decade ago he had used HGH, is to arrive no later than Monday.
``I know what he's going through right now is not an easy situation,'' Cashman said, adding that he didn't watch any of the hearing in Washington, which Pettitte didn't attend. ``I suspect that although it's not an easy process, that he's strong enough he will get through it over time.''
The GM said the Yankees have no current plans to seek another starting pitcher. Girardi expressed confidence that missing the first few days of camp won't impede Pettitte's preparation for the season.
New York is counting on the 35-year-old left-hander to be part of a rotation that also includes Chien-Ming Wang and Mike Mussina. The rest of the rotation will be determined by competition this spring.
Girardi replaced Joe Torre as manager on Oct. 30, inheriting a team that won four World Series titles, six AL pennants and made the playoffs in each of his former mentor's 12 seasons in New York.
He and Cashman agreed on the decision to grant Pettitte extra time to report to camp.
``I certainly had a chance to tell him no, but I felt the right thing was to say yes,'' Cashman said, adding that Congress questioning a current and former New York player was not as much a reflection on the Yankees as it is on baseball in general.
. ``We're all looking to find a way to insure that what's taken place here in the last decade or so doesn't take place again.
``Whatever is troubling and difficult, you've got to absorb it and learn from it, so that you can get past it and be better for it,'' he added.
Girardi did not shed any light on the Yankees' plans for young pitchers Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes.
``We're going to try to take the best pitchers north, and where everyone's role is will be decided,'' Girardi said. ``You're making the assumption this guy and this guy definitely is going to make the team. You have to prove yourself. This is spring training. It's a new year. Players have to prove themselves.''
Notes: OF Hideki Matsui had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Nov. 14. Girardi said Matsui might not be ready before the start of spring training games, but he should be ready to go by opening day.

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