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A day later, analytical Pettitte feels fine physically

Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte wipes his face

Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte wipes his face while sitting in the dugout after being removed during the seventh inning of a game against the Seattle Mariners. (May 13, 2012) Credit: AP

BALTIMORE -- Given a day to think about it, Andy Pettitte narrowed down Sunday's debut to one primary regret.

"The thing I was most disappointed about, I felt with my pitch selection, I didn't make the adjustments that I should have, after being out of the game and looking back on it now,'' Pettitte said Monday. "Sometimes you can outthink yourself out there a little bit too much, and if something's not working, you feel like you have to make something work, and that's a bad idea.''

Pettitte, who allowed four runs and seven hits, including a pair of two-run homers, in 61/3 innings in a 6-2 loss to the Mariners, was not happy with his cutter, something he's hoping to improve by his next start Friday against the Reds at the Stadium.

"That's what pitching's all about,'' he said. "If something's not working, that's why you have a curveball, that's why you have a changeup. And I felt like I maybe forced the issue a little bit yesterday when I shouldn't have.''

Russell Martin said he felt he and Pettitte worked together about as well as could be expected, given that they weren't all that familiar with each other. Pettitte told the catcher to feel free to be more forceful.

"I said, 'Russ, slap me upside the head. You wanted to go slow and I didn't go slow,' '' Pettitte said of going more with his curve and change. "I was shaking him off and stuff like that on some pitches.''

Pettitte said making adjustments is collaborative.

"[Martin] had a good feel of what I wanted to do, Larry [Rothschild] knows what I want to do, everybody around here . . . We have a lot of guys around here that have seen me pitch for a long time,'' he said. "During the game, I'm talking. You tell me what you're seeing. Sometimes when you're pitching, you get wrapped up in it. If guys see me not making the adjustments I need to make, they're always free to come to me and say, hey, make sure you're using this or that.''

Pettitte thought it would feel a little more "awkward'' than it did when he took the mound from which he had thrown so many games -- and the one from which he threw the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the 2011 ALDS after his retirement.

"It turned out kind of like what I thought it was going to be,'' he said, "and that was a good feeling.''

Most encouraging to Joe Girardi was that Pettitte said he felt very little soreness a day after the start. "Those are my concerns, especially early on, these early games and how he bounces back,'' Girardi said. "Hopefully he feels good during his bullpen and when he makes his start Friday.''

Said Pettitte: "I'm a little surprised because I felt like I went harder than in my minor-league starts, just because of the adrenaline or whatever from a big-league game. But I think maybe just from all the traveling I was doing, especially the last couple of starts, that maybe I came out of the starts in the minors a little sorer than I was today. So I think it was just nice to be in New York and do my work there. I just really feel good.''

Pettitte bounced between Tampa, Trenton and Rochester the last few weeks -- not to mention a detour to Washington to testify in the Roger Clemens perjury trial -- and had concerns about how that would affect his 39-year-old body.

"That was crazy,'' Pettitte said of the back-and-forth. "That was 'Lord, keep me healthy, please.' Just because I was flying all over the place. I was worried about my legs, I was worried about staying loose. I just wanted to stay healthy. At my age, I have to have my body taken care of. I have to have massage, and when you're flying, I wasn't able to get some of that stuff. So it was just like, let's just get through these last few starts and feel decent. That was where I was at.''


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