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On deck for number retirement: No. 46, Andy Pettitte

Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte poses on picture day

Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte poses on picture day during spring training at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. on Feb. 20, 2013. Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Now it's Andy Pettitte's turn.

A day after having a front-row seat as his former catcher, Jorge Posada, was honored by the Yankees, Pettitte will be the focal point of Sunday afternoon's ceremony at Yankee Stadium. The club will honor him by unveiling a plaque in Monument Park that commemorates his career in pinstripes, and by retiring his uniform No. 46.

For Pettitte, the chance to reflect on his career in the city he still refers to as "home" will be special.

"My family," Pettitte said, "they feel like this is home. I mean we've been here so long. [My son] Josh, he's about to be 21. I mean, 1995, that's 20 years ago. He learned how to ride his bike here. There's just so many memories here. They feel like this is as much home as Houston is. So it's just wonderful being up here."

The southpaw spent 15 seasons as a Yankee (1995-2003, 2007-10 and '12-13). He compiled a 219-127 record with a 3.94 ERA and a franchise-best 2,020 strikeouts in 438 starts, plus nine relief appearances as a Yankee.

Pettitte, who, along with Posada, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter, was a member of the Yankees' Core Four, and was in on five World Series titles (1996, '98, '99, 2000, '09), is the most accomplished postseason pitcher in club history. In 40 playoff starts, he went 18-10 with a 3.76 ERA. He is the organization's all-time postseason leader in wins, starts, innings pitched and strikeouts (167).

On Saturday, he got a jump start on the nostalgia trip. The video presentation that preceded Posada's on-field ceremony had dozens of highlights from Posada's career, many of which included Pettitte. With Posada behind the plate, Pettitte went 100-51.

"I think just the years of being together, really," Pettitte said, "and just having so much time together. We just came in together. We were in instructional league together for all those years and then of course when we started up here together. The years you put in and the friendships you build up and just the trust that you build, that's a huge thing for a pitcher."

Rivera, who had his No. 42 retired in September 2013, said Pettitte and Posada are more than just former teammates to him.

"It's amazing," he said. "You're talking about guys that were key players on all those championships. They were players that never gave up and were there regardless. Those two players, they're like brothers to me. I'm glad I'm here for them."


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