Almost every season since his retirement, Andy Pettitte strolls into the Yankees clubhouse at George M. Steinbrenner Field as a special instructor to the coaches.
On Tuesday, Pettitte was approached by first baseman Greg Bird who made an interesting request; he wanted to face Pettitte in a round of batting practice.
Because Bird wanted to get some hacks against a left-handed starter, which was something he hadn’t seen much of in live games.
“He wanted to work on two-seamers, running balls in, cutters, so I actually was throwing him all my pitches,” Pettitte said prior to the Yankees exhibition game against the Tampa Bay Rays. “He said he hasn’t seen a whole lot of lefties in the spring so far. He looks really good.”
Bird has looked impressive since his return from a shoulder injury that prevented him from playing the entire 2016 season.
While Pettitte enjoyed helping Bird, he revealed he had no interest in returning to baseball, hinting back to when he instructed camp in 2012 and ended up signing a one-year contract with the Yankees.
“It’s just good to be down here,” he said. “I had a little window with my high school schedule. I didn’t get a chance to get down here last year and I just love to come down here. When you land and you come down to spring training, it brings back a lot of great memories. I know they’ve been going now for four weeks, five weeks, whatever, but you get off the plane and see the palm trees, you know you’re down in Florida and it’s baseball time. It’s exciting and it’s fun, even though I haven’t been around. Baseball is just in you. It’s kind of what you do.”
So, what is Pettitte up to nowadays when he’s not helping the Yankees during the Spring?
Currently, he’s the pitching coach at Second Baptist High School in Houston, Texas.
“I think anytime you get around it, you miss getting off the plane when you get down here to spring training. You’re like, man, this is what you do. You go do it. You just know it’s over,” Pettitte said. “You’re too old, so it’s not even really any interest in doing this anymore. It feels like a lifetime ago, to tell you the truth. Now it’s just crazy. Baseball is what I’ve done and that’s all I really know. I love it and I enjoy it. I’m kind of down in Texas now trying to do it with my kids and seeing them do their deal and trying to help them live life.”