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Mariano Rivera cries after Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte come out for pitching change (Video)

There were some truly special scenes at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night as Mariano Rivera made his final career pitching appearance in the Bronx.

Rivera entered the game with runners on first and second and New York trailing the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 in the top of the eighth. He retired the next two batters to get out of the jam. He then came back out for the ninth for an extra inning of work as he’s done so many times before. He got two outs before being lifted for Matt Daley.

Rivera’s stat line for his final appearance was flawless: 1.1 innings, 0 runs, 0 walks, 0 hits.

[Related: Mariano Rivera honored at All-Star Game with priceless entrance]

Manager Joe Girardi also had a brilliant idea for how Rivera would be pulled from his final home appearance. He had Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte, two of the other members of the team’s “Core Four,” come to take the legendary closer out of the game. Jeter could be seen mouthing “time to go” at Rivera as he approached the mound. Pettitte and Rivera embraced first, leading Rivera to begin sobbing in the southpaw’s arms. Rivera continued to cry as he embraced Jeter.

After walking into the dugout where he gave hugs to all his coaches and teammates, Rivera came out for a curtain call.

Pettitte, who is also retiring after the season, later went out to give a curtain call and get an ovation from the fans.

[Also see: All retirement gifts Mariano Rivera received]

Rivera, Pettitte, Jeter, and Jorge Posada all were drafted by the Yankees, came up in the organization together, and made their MLB debuts in 1995. They won five World Series together. Posada retired after the 2011 season, while Rivera and Pettitte are retiring after this season. That leaves Jeter, the youngest of the bunch, as the remaining member of the Core Four. After seeing what happened with Rivera, you can only imagine what it will be like when Jeter hangs it up.

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Yankees lose Andy Pettitte and C.C. Sabathia to DL: What does it mean?

After putting together an outstanding June and emerging as one of the best teams in baseball, the news was not good for the Yankees on Wednesday. In the span of about 24 hours, New York lost both Andy Pettitte and C.C. Sabathia to the disabled list. Sabathia’s injury is believed to be only a strained muscle in his leg that should cause him to miss two starts. Pettitte, on the other hand, suffered a broken ankle and is expected to miss at least six weeks.

At age 40 and coming off a year in which he didn’t pitch at all, Pettitte had somehow managed to become a rock in the Yankees’ rotation before going down. He has a 3.22 ERA and pitched six or more innings in every start except his most recent one where he suffered the injury. New York has become as reliant on him this season as they were in the early 2000s. And Sabathia is, well, Sabathia.

So what do these injuries mean for the AL East going forward? The good news for the Yankees is the season is young. Assuming Sabathia only misses two turns in the rotation, New York still has the option of pursuing trade options at the deadline to fill in for Pettitte. However, with the way the Orioles have played this season there is not much margin for error in the division.

The Red Sox are also slowly making a charge. They have won 11 of their last 14 games and are catching fire at the perfect time with Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and Andrew Bailey all set to come off the DL over the next month. While other teams will be looking to make trades to improve around the deadline, Boston can stand pat and simply get healthy. With all five teams in the AL East currently above .500, Pettitte’s injury could turn out to be a significant blow to New York.

Photo credit: The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

Freddy Garcia on Andy Pettitte returning to the Yankees: ‘I don’t really care’

When the Yankees signed Freddy Garcia last offseason, they got more than they bargained for. Garcia was acquired with the intention of adding depth to New York’s starting rotation, and he ended up posting a 12-8 record to go along with an impressive 3.62 ERA. If not for his performance, it is unlikely the Yankees would have reached the postseason. Now that Andy Pettitte is attempting to make a comeback, however, Garcia could be the odd man out.

Pettitte signed a minor league deal with the Yankees last week, but he would not have returned to baseball after a year off with the intention of pitching in the minors. If and when he makes the Yankees roster, someone will have to go. That is probably the reason Garcia is not excited about the lefty’s return.

“I don’t really care,” Garcia said according to the Star Ledger. “That’s their decision. I’m here to pitch and that’s what I want to do.”

Freddy was then asked if Pettitte’s addition was good for the team, and he reportedly threw up his hands and replied, “I don’t know man. Ask the people. I don’t know. I guess.”

Since New York announced the Pettitte signing, reactions have been mixed. The veteran position players and relievers on the team are understandably thrilled to have one of the best lefties in Yankees history back, while guys like Garcia and Phil Hughes — who said “it is what it is” when asked about the situation — seem a bit more concerned that it could cost them their rotation spot. Such is life in professional sports.

H/T Hardball Talk

Ivan Nova Credits Andy Pettitte for ALDS Game 1 Success

With their rotation looking relatively thin throughout the regular season and in definite need of some assistance, Yankee fans found themselves disappointed Andy Pettitte was set on remaining retired. Pettitte was able to still pitch effectively for New York last season, so he surely could have helped during the regular season this year. Given his track record of success in the postseason, the Yankees probably would have used him in October as well.

Fear not, New York fans — Pettitte is still helping you win crucial games.  Ivan Nova’s regular season success was a huge part of the reason the Yankees reached the postseason.  Coincidentally, Nova also became the ALDS Game 1 starter for New York.  He pitched into the seventh and allowed only two runs on four hits, notching his first career playoff victory.  According to the NY Post, Pettitte offered Nova some uselful advice before that outing.

“He really helped me a lot,” Nova said. “He is a tremendous person. That’s the example you got to take. Who has more success than him in the playoffs? That’s the guy who can help me in the process. He really did the last game. One thing he told me was if you got trouble in one inning, any inning, to get in your mind one pitch can take you out of the game. One pitch can finish that inning and one pitch can take you out of the game. You have to try and execute that pitch.”

It appears the postseason success has continued into 2011 for one of the best left-handed hurlers of our generation.

Andy Pettitte Knew from McNamee That Clemens Was Using Steroids

It wasn’t referred to at all in the affidavit. Nor was it mentioned in written or spoken reports throughout the coverage of this McNamee/Clemens mess. But like I told you before, I braved through Pettitte’s entire deposition so you don’t have to (because after all, I’m really looking out for you). And upon reading through the deposition, I came to find out for the first time that in addition to knowing Clemens used HGH, Andy Pettitte also knew that Roger Clemens allegedly used steroids. From the deposition:

Q: I’ll ask it again. Did you ever discuss Clemens’ steroids use with Brian McNamee?

A: Yes. … We were training in my gym. And I can just remember, you know, Mac telling me that Roger, you know, that he had gotten steroids for Roger.

Now I can understand why this was left out of the affidavit — this only is Pettitte finding out through a secondary source — McNamee. So once again this puts it into McNamee’s word and credibility. But still, I can’t believe that out of all the reports and investigating going on, that nobody has mentioned that Pettitte knew of Clemens’ alleged steroids use, in addition to his alleged HGH use. It really should have been in the affidavit that McNamee told Pettitte of Clemens’ alleged steroids use as well, now that I think about it. So there you go, as you’re probably hearing for the first time right here, Pettitte also knew of Roger’s alleged steroids use.

Andy Pettitte Makes You Forgive Him for Using HGH

OK, so much ado has been made over Andy Pettitte’s role in this whole Roger Clemens/Brian McNamee fiasco. Congressman Elijah Cummings said Pettitte seemed to be the most believable character of those who spoke to Congress. People seem to think he did something great. Matt Watson nailed it calling Andy Pettitte a liar for saying he only used HGH once in 2002, when in fact he also knowingly used it in 2004. While I don’t condone cheating the game and your competitors, I found Pettitte’s reasoning for why he used HGH particularly intriguing. Here is the reasoning from Pettitte’s deposition, which I spent the hour braving through (so you don’t have to, because after all, I’m really looking out for you):

On his use in 2002 …

I was making an awful lot of money. I wanted to give back to the team. I had been on the DL before. But I knew I had hurt my elbow pretty bad this time. I was on there for an extended period of time, where before with my elbow I’d only missed a coupleof weeks. But I knew that I was missing some extended period of time there. And I just felt like that it was the honorable thing to do, if I could do whatever I could to try to get back on the field and try to earn my money.

And then on using later in 2004 (where he actually says he injected himself, ewwww), this is a must-read:

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Congressman Elijah Cummings Crushed Roger Clemens, Made Sense

Out of the four hours and around forty minutes of testimony heard Wednesday morning in Congress by Roger Clemens and Brian McNamee, all but one minute is superfluous. The exchange between Congressman Elijah Cummings and Roger Clemens was the paramount moment of the hearing and the apotheosis of cutting out b.s. and getting to the bottom line. The comments were noted by Jayson Stark in his blog:

“If I walked in here,” Cummings told Clemens, “and it was even Steven, you and Mr. McNamee, I must admit that the person I believe most & is Mr. Pettitte. When Mr. McNamee gave histestimony about Knoblauch and Pettitte, those allegations turned out to be true,” Cummings went on. “But for some reason, … when it comes to you, it’s a whole ‘nother thing. … How do you explain this?”

Clemens then insisted one more time that Pettitte had “misheard” him. Cummings wasn’t buying it.

“I’ve listened to you very carefully,” Cummings said. “And I take you at your word. And you’re telling me that Andy Pettitte is an honest man, and his credibility is pretty much impeccable. … You said you were misunderstood. But all I’m saying is, it’s hard to believe. It’s hard to believe your story.

“I hate to say that. You’re one of my heroes. But it’s hard to believe you.”

EXACTLY. How is it possible that McNamee was right about Knoblauch’s, Pettitte’s, and even Debbie’s HGH use, but not Roger’s? And if Pettitte’s word is the one to believe, then doesn’t that implicate Roger? Sure as heck does in my opinion. As forceful as Clemens is, and as persuasive as he legal team is, I still can’t get around that McNamee was right about everyone else (for as many inconsistencies as he’s had). While McNamee’s words aren’t 100% accurate, I think he’s telling the truth about the most important item — that Roger Clemens used performance-enhancing drugs. Bottom line. And why were four hours of bullcrap needed when it took Cummings only one minute to lay out what really mattered?

By the way, I have another really trippy Roger Clemens story that places this whole ordeal in good context if you continue reading.

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