Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees looks on from the dugout...

Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees looks on from the dugout in the first inning of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. (Aug. 21, 2013) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Andy Pettitte knows that the road to redemption in the eyes of baseball fans starts with telling the truth. It worked for the former Yankees lefthander after he was outed as a user of performance-enhancing drugs.

It may be too late for Alex Rodriguez to ever get back in the fans' good graces. But Pettitte said Thursday night that coming clean has to be the first step for A-Rod as he returns to the game.

"Just get everything out,'' Pettitte said before being honored at the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation's annual gala at Chelsea Piers. "Everything has to be out or it seems like something is always chasing you around. That's just the best way to do things and the easiest way to do things. Whatever's out, I hope that it's all out and he can move forward from there. And if he's playing, be a productive player because I care about him. He's a friend of mine.''

Pettitte, who said he has not spoken to Rodriguez recently, said: "I'm hoping there's some way, somehow, there will be a good ending to it all. Hopefully he comes back and he's healthy and hopefully he's a productive ballplayer for them.

"I'd love to see that. I'd love to see the fans accept him back and that he's able to play because I want him to be happy. He's a friend of mine. I don't want him to be miserable.''

Pettitte admitted in 2007 that he used human growth hormone to recover from an elbow injury in 2002. He said he tried HGH -- which wasn't banned by baseball until January 2005 -- on two occasions in 2002, stressing he did it to heal faster and not to enhance his performance. He emphasized he never used steroids.

As part of a statement released to The Associated Press by agent Randy Hendricks in 2007, Pettitte said, "This is it -- two days out of my life; two days out of my entire career, when I was injured and on the disabled list. I wasn't looking for an edge. I was looking to heal.''

Now Pettitte hopes A-Rod will tell the truth as he tries to heal his career.

Torre, Rodriguez's former manager, called the whole situation "sad, very sad.'' He also said he's "curious like the rest'' of us to see how Rodriguez performs on the field after a year's suspension.

About A-Rod being a lightning rod, Torre said: "He's had that following him his whole career. He's one of those guys that because he made so much money, there was resentment on the part of fans. I think it's not going to be anything new to him.''

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