|Pettitte not in Yankees' camp, Mussina says the lefty will face challenges|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 14 February 2008 16:12|
Teammate Mike Mussina hopes Pettitte is up to the challenge of answering all the questions about Roger Clemens and human growth hormone.
``You know, this is a different animal than anything that he's had to deal with before,'' Mussina said Thursday, when pitchers and catchers reported for spring training. ``Do I think he can deal with it? Sure I think he can deal with it. But until you actually are put in the situation and have to deal with it, you really, really don't know. We'll just have to move forward and see how it plays out.''
He was given until Monday to report to the Yankees' complex in Tampa - the media's first chance to question the left-hander.
Mussina hopes Pettitte addresses the issue quickly and any controversy dissipates.
``Lay it out there in one or two sessions and then hopefully it eases a little from there,'' Mussina said. ``I don't think he's going to be able to do his job properly if he has to answer questions about it all season long.
``Hopefully, he can find a way to fight through it and perform well. We're expecting Andy to go out there and pitch 190 or 200 innings, and win 15 games or so. The question is, can he deal with all this and focus on pitching at the same time?''
Pettitte's teammates were supportive.
``He's going to handle it professionally,'' Joba Chamberlain said. ``He's going to come and do what got him to this point, and that's perform on the field. When he gets between the lines, it's not going to stop him. I'm looking forward to seeing him and giving him a hug, and say, 'Welcome back.'''
Right-hander Phil Hughes agreed.
``It's hard enough to play this game when you're focused on playing it,'' Hughes said. ``There are so many other things that are going on in his head. I know it will be tough, but I feel I know Andy well enough that it's probably not going to bother him too much.''
sidered using performance-enhancing substances. He takes pride at his performance during the Steroids Era.
``I feel better about myself because I competed against them and I succeeded,'' Mussina said.
Notes: Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was in an upbeat mood when arrived around noon, saying he was ``feeling good.'' ... Yankees LF-DH Hideki Matsui said his surgically-repaired right knee is improving and expects to be ready for opening day. ``There's a lot of time,'' Matsui said through an interpreter. ``I'm sure by then I should be feeling pretty good. I'm not worried about it.'' ... Yogi Berra, Graig Nettles, Hector Lopez, Stump Merrill, Mickey Rivers. Tino Martinez, Reggie Jackson, Gooose Gossage and Ron Guidry were on a list of spring training instructors posted in the clubhouse. ... Uniforms numbers previously worn by former manager Joe Torre (6) and outfielder Bernie Williams (51) are not being used. RHP LaTroy Hawkins was issued No. 22, worn last season by Roger Clemens.