Andy Pettitte returned to spring training yesterday and addressed the media, his teammates, and the fans:
TAMPA, Fla. — In a one-hour news conference Monday that neither he nor the Yankees could have ever wished on themselves, a composed Andy Pettitte apologized for using human growth hormone in 2002 and 2004, said there was no other drug use he was concealing and revealed an awkward breakdown in his communications with Roger Clemens, his friend and former teammate.
Pettitte said he had used H.G.H. not to gain a competitive advantage but to recover from injuries while with the Yankees in 2002 and with the Houston Astros in 2004. He said H.G.H. was not forbidden by baseball when he used it, although he acknowledged it was wrong to use it without a medical prescription.
“I am sorry,” Pettitte said at the news conference, which came as he reported four days late to spring training, with the Yankees’ permission. “I know in my heart why I did things. I know that God knows that. I know that I’m going to have to stand before him one day. The truth hurts sometimes and you don’t want to share it. The truth will set you free. I’m going to be able to sleep a lot better.”
Pettitte spoke to the news media under a canopy outside Legends Field, the Yankees’ spring training site. He was flanked by Brian Cashman, the general manager, and Joe Girardi, the team’s new manager. Seated to their right were shortstop Derek Jeter, catcher Jorge Posada and closer Mariano Rivera, three longtime Yankee stalwarts who, along with Pettitte, are the only remaining members of the teams that won four World Series championships between 1996 and 2000.
The presence of Jeter, Posada and Rivera was a reminder of just how much Pettitte has meant to the Yankees. But the presence of two lawyers representing Pettitte was a reminder of just how entangled he has become in Clemens’s adamant challenge to the Mitchell report.
Of course, the subject of Roger Clemens came up, but Pettitte said next to nothing:
Pettitte’s lawyers have advised him not to discuss specifics of his conversations with Clemens. When he was asked Monday about their different versions of conversations, Pettitte said, “I’m just not going to go there.”
Pettitte said he did not watch the hearing and had not talked with the 45-year-old Clemens recently.
“I hope the friendship with Roger will still be there,” said Pettitte, who is 35. “I love the guy like a brother.”
“Me and Roger spoke probably a few months ago, or a month or so ago, it was just in passing,” Pettitte added. They discussed one of Pettitte’s sons, Pettitte said, who was injured in a recreational vehicle accident.
When asked why they had not discussed Clemens’s denials in more depth, Pettitte said: “I don’t think it would be smart. We were both going to be going under oath. Obviously, it’s put a strain on our friendship.”
Because McNamee’s testimony differed sharply from that of Clemens, Pettitte said he hoped he would not have to give his version again under oath. He may have to if federal investigators decide to pursue an indictment against Clemens or McNamee.
“Man, I’m hoping and praying,” he said of his desire not to testify again. “I can’t wait for, hopefully, this whole situation to be resolved.”
I think we all feel that way, Andy.
Here’s YouTube video of Pettitte’s statement: