Andy Pettitte thrilled to be back in the postseason

Andy Pettitte pumps his fist after a third-inning Andy Pettitte pumps his fist after a third-inning double play during the first game of a doubleheader against the Toronto Blue Jays. (Sept. 19, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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BALTIMORE -- Andy Pettitte knew Friday that he was going to start Game 2 of the ALDS on Monday. But the crafty lefty would not confirm that publicly until manager Joe Girardi announced it Saturday night.

Not that Pettitte cared whether he started the second or third game of the Yankees' first-round series against the Orioles. He's just happy to be able to pitch at all in the postseason after missing nearly three months with a fractured left fibula (and sitting out last season as a retired player).

"It doesn't matter," Pettitte said. "Just tell me where you want me to pitch and I'll pitch. It really doesn't matter. Just excited to get back out there. It's a long year and it was a hard-fought year to get here. These guys [the Orioles] obviously pushed us hard in September. It should be a good series, and just looking forward to getting after it."

Pettitte, the winningest pitcher in postseason history with 19 victories, went on the DL after being hit by a one-hop smash off the bat of Cleveland's Casey Kotchman on June 27. He returned Sept. 19 and made three starts before the end of the regular season.

"I always felt like I was going to get back, but I just knew it was going to be a rush job," Pettitte said. "Obviously, it isn't a great feeling when you know the responsibility that you have. I knew I was going to get back, just how careful I was being."

Stamina might not be on his side -- Pettitte said he hopes he can throw as many as 115 pitches -- but past numbers are. Pettitte is 27-6 with a 2.52 ERA against the Orioles, with 16 of those wins at Camden Yards.

Pettitte, who was 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA after unretiring and rejoining the Yankees in May, made an appearance in last season's ALDS, sort of. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium.

Pettitte said he didn't recall much of the Yankees' five-game ALDS loss, other than that one game he attended.

"Last October, I was probably a good bit of time at my [Texas] ranch on the weekends when the kids weren't in school," he said. "Man, it's exciting. What more can you ask for but to come back and to be back in the postseason? That's what you come back for. It's an exciting time."

The Orioles will throw lefthander Wei-Yin Chen in Game 2. Both pitchers will be available for relief duty if needed in a possible Game 5.

Pettitte's last appearance this postseason again could be his final game in pinstripes. The 40-year-old said he hasn't decided whether he is going to pitch again next season.

"I'm just trying to get through this postseason," he said. "Now that I've been through this so much, I can't even weigh my feelings until I get home and start thinking about stuff."

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