Torre a bit uneasy about facing Pettitte
LOS ANGELES - Joe Torre has watched Andy Pettitte pitch on television a bit this season and was hoping that would be the extent of his exposure to the lefthander.
Instead, Torre will see Pettitte pitch in person tonight, which was ensured once the Yankees chose to skip Phil Hughes on Friday, pushing everyone in the rotation up a day.
"I'm sorry he is ," Torre said with a weary smile before yesterday's game. "He's a tough competitor."
Pettitte pitched for Torre from 1996-2003 and in 2007. At 9-2 with a 2.48 ERA, he is off to a stellar start, impressive in that he just turned 38 and has entered each of the last several seasons unsure if he wanted to continue to pitch.
"I know he was talking the possibility of retirement a couple years ago," Torre said. "When it looked like he was going to retire, I was trying to talk him into coming here. But in his mind, the only place he'd ever play would be with New York."
Torre remembered having a misleading first impression of Pettitte. "When I first watched him prepare for a game, I said to myself, 'This guy's scared to death,' " Torre said, "because he'd just sit there and stare. But then I'd watch him out there on the mound and he'd bend a lot but he wouldn't break. He was just a very tough kid. You trusted him. He's very special."
After Friday's game, Alex Rodriguez said he didn't see Torre during the pregame stretch and that he still planned to say hello (though the two didn't speak on the field before yesterday's game, either). Rodriguez also spoke highly of Torre, saying he still could hear his former manager's voice in his head regarding certain hitting lessons.
"I'm glad to hear that because I didn't think there'd be any issues that would keep us from saying hello," Torre said.
He said A-Rod, even with his power numbers down, "for explosion" is the most dangerous man in the Yankees' lineup - though the most dangerous player in the lineup "with the winning run on second is Jeter."
Torre said that at the end of his tenure, his impression of Hal Steinbrenner wasn't that the current managing general partner would be long for the job.
"I don't know how comfortable he was when was involved before," Torre said. "But he seemed pretty happy doing stuff outside of the ballclub. As was Hank. It was all about their dad."
Times have changed.
Joe Girardi said Alfredo Aceves (lower back) threw long toss Saturday and will throw off a full mound tomorrow, the first time he's done so since landing on the DL. Sergio Mitre (oblique), whom Girardi said is "closer" to being back than Aceves, also will throw in Tampa tomorrow. Girardi said Marcus Thames (hamstring) has just begun to run the bases and isn't ready to play in games yet.