|Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte finds comfort zone on the mound|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 23 February 2008 11:41|
The New York Yankees' left-hander threw 55 pitches in an indoor cage Saturday after rain wiped out his first scheduled batting practice session of the spring.
Pettitte had a difficult offseason. He was implicated in the Mitchell Report and later admitted using human growth hormone in 2002 and 2004. He also gave a deposition and affidavit about buddy Roger Clemens to a congressional committee looking into performance-enhancing drug use in baseball.
``Especially for me, as a pitcher, when you step on the mound, it's so different because everything goes away,'' Pettitte said. ``You're thinking about how you're going to get everybody out this season and trying to get yourself ready.''
The Yankees granted Pettitte's request to report four days late to spring training. His first day in camp last Monday included a 35-pitch bullpen session and a 55 1/2-minute news conference.
Joining his teammates has helped him feel normal again.
``This is extremely good to be doing this, no doubt,'' Pettitte said. ``Just everything else was such an unnormal lifestyle. Like I've said a hundred times, everybody has just made me feel so comfortable. The team, the guys, the organization. It's been great to be back.''
Pettitte said he is on schedule to be ready for the start of the season.
``Right now, it's just getting my arm strength,'' he said. ``I'm trying to get out, extended, trying to get good soreness in the back of your shoulder. Try to get some torque on my elbow for my cutter and curveball. Really, that's it. Just take it slow. There's plenty of time. Just trying to get everything in shape.''
Pettitte, who was 15-9 with a 4.05 ERA last season, is scheduled to throw batting practice on Monday.
``My legs are feeling better,'' he said. ``I feel like I'm getting stronger every time. When you get here and you're not quite the shape that you want to be in, you kind of have a tendency to panic a little. But it's so long, such a long spring.''
In other news, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Chien-Ming Wang will pitch Saturday's spring training game against Philadelphia, which lines up the 19-game winner to start the regular-season opener on March 31.
Wang hadn't yet been told that he would pitch the opener, but said he would be ``happy if it happens.'' A hamstring injury kept the right-hander from making the opening-day start last season.
Pitchers will throw batting practice Sunday and Monday before an intrasquad game Wednesday. Star closer Mariano Rivera will stick to his program from the past few seasons and throw in the bullpen instead of batting practice.
``He's on his schedule,'' Girardi said. ``We don't try to reinvent it for him. He paces himself. He knows what he needs to be ready March 31.''
Mike Mussina and Jeff Karstens are scheduled to pitch in Wednesday's intrasquad game.
Notes: Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez participated in all drills and took extra BP, one day after cutting back on his swings due to a sore neck. Rodriguez said he slept wrong Thursday night, but was feeling much better Saturday. ... Girardi said RHPs Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain will pitch in Friday's exhibition opener against South Florida. ... Hideki Matsui, coming off knee surgery, is expected to get some at-bats at DH before playing left field in exhibition games.