Pettitte returned to the field in pinstripes at Yankees' camp on Monday. He was a "guest instructor," and he watched Phil Hughes and Manny Banuelos throw, while he stood behind the batters' cage.
Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com reports that Pettitte asked to throw batting practice on Tuesday and Joe Girardi "quickly agreed" to it.
It is nice to see Pettitte back with the Yankees and helping out after not going to Florida last year for spring training. Last year he wanted some time away, but everyone knew that Pettitte couldn't stay away for too long.
When interviewed by reporters, Pettitte had some interesting answers.
He admitted that being in Tampa makes him miss playing. He also compared his situation to Mariano Rivera's and their age.
“I’d say yeah, just being honest with you to a certain degree. Then you take a step back. You evaluate where you’re at, what you’ve been doing and the reasons that I retired—to be with the family and spend time with them. Things are good. Things are really good, just loving life. No doubt, when you get around here and get close to it, you’re like, ‘Man, you’re 39 years old and Mo is 42.’ It’s just good to be here and be around the guys.”
It is evident that he still thinks about pitching, partly because guys he was around all the time and that are older than him are still doing it.
The highlight of his responses came when he was asked if he felt he could physically pitch again.
“I’m sure I could. You start training, working out and getting yourself into shape. I’d imagine you could. I retired, I felt, after one of my better years. I felt like I was at the point where I just kind of knew what I was doing mechanically out there on the mound. I retired to go home and be with my family.”
Most Yankee fans would have loved to see him back in uniform last season. His last season in 2010 was certainly one of his most memorable seasons.
At times, he looked brilliant for the Yankees that season, and he even made the All-Star team. In the first half of the season he was 11-2 and had a 2.70 ERA. He battled an injury in the second half, and the Yankees were cautious with him to make sure he was rested for the playoffs.
In the playoffs he continued his brilliance earning a win in the ALDS but a loss in the ALCS. In both games, he pitched seven innings, while giving up five hits and two earned runs.
If the Yankees were not stacked with starting pitching, I believe they would have reached out to Pettitte and have him wear the pinstripes for other reasons besides throwing batting practice.