Andy Pettitte pitched into the seventh inning in his first appearance for the New York Yankees since 2010, a 6-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners in which he said a couple of mistakes led to a pair of two-run home runs.
Pettitte, 39, ended his one-season retirement from Major League Baseball in March and rejoined the Yankees yesterday in New York after working his way back into shape in the minor leagues. He allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings.
“It felt like I never left, it really did,” said Pettitte, whose 203 wins with the Yankees are the third most in franchise history. “I’m disappointed in getting the loss.”
Pettitte held the Mariners hitless until the fourth inning, when he allowed a homer to Justin Smoak.
With the Yankees trailing 2-1, Casper Wells added another two-run homer in the sixth inning off Pettitte, who threw 94 pitches before giving way to the bullpen.
“The guys gave me a chance to get back in the game and I go back out and give up a two-run homer. You just can’t do that,” Pettitte said at a news conference. “I got a little careless with a few pitches and they cost me. It’s a real quick learning lesson and wakeup call for me, that’s for sure.”
Pettitte helped the Yankees win five World Series titles over 13 seasons in New York and trails only Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231) for the most wins in team history.
Pettitte went 11-3 with a 3.28 earned run average in 21 starts during his last season for the Yankees in 2010, when he was limited by a groin injury in the second half.
The left-hander retired before the 2011 season, saying he didn’t have the hunger to play even though his pitching arm felt fine. He didn’t rule out a return at the time and on March 16 signed a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Yankees.
“To me, it looked like he hadn’t missed a beat,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said at a news conference.
Girardi said he was encouraged that Pettitte showed good velocity and recorded 10 ground-ball outs, including a pair of inning-ending double plays. Pettitte also had two strikeouts.
“To get us into the seventh inning, that’s pretty good,” Girardi said. “It was just a bit of missed location. His pitch count, he kept it low all day, which is important.”
Pettitte joins a starting rotation that includes CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova. The Yankees in April lost Michael Pineda, who they acquired from Seattle during the offseason, to a season-ending shoulder injury.
“The one thing we’re going to have to look at a little bit is how he bounces back each start,” said Girardi, whose team is in third place in the American League Eastern division with a 19-15 record. “Everything looked pretty similar to when he left. That’s a good sign. He was effective and it’s what we’re used to seeing.”
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