Andy Pettitte lives for moments like what awaits him Tuesday night - weather permitting - at Yankee Stadium. Considered one of the greatest pressure pitchers in history, Pettitte is scheduled to make his first start in nearly three months against the Toronto Blue Jays with the New York Yankees nursing a precious half-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.
When Pettitte took Casey Kotchman's line drive off his fibula on June 27, it fractured the bone, halted what was a riveting return to baseball after a year's retirement (3-3, 3.22 ERA), and the trickle-down effect weakened the Yankees and contributed to a 10-game division lead being trimmed all the way down to a first-place tie with the Orioles. But rest assured, Pettitte works with enough aplomb to keep his emotions at sea level. He never gets overwhelmed by the situation. He's motivated by being part of the solution and not sitting on the sidelines powerless to contribute.
"That's what you come back for," Pettitte said on returning in the heat of a pennant race. "Obviously it would be nice to have a little bit of a bigger lead, where you can take a breath. It would be nice to know that we were going to the postseason right now, and not have to worry about it. I guess that's what I'm trying to say. But I'm looking forward to being back, trying to help this club do what we want to do; that's get to the postseason and hopefully win the championship. I want to be part of that solution, not just sitting there watching it."
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