Pettitte pulling for Yanks, happy for Astros

Houston native aiding Hurricane Harvey relief efforts

October 14th, 2017
Andy Pettitte said having the Astros in the ALCS "gives these fans a chance to come and cheer." (AP)Kathy Willens/AP

HOUSTON -- Andy Pettitte spent most of his professional summers in Yankees pinstripes, so it was an easy call for him to pull for the New Yorkers while his two former clubs do battle in the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World. Still, the big-game lefty said on Saturday that he is also thrilled for the Astros and especially for the city of Houston.

"This is my hometown, and what we've been through the last seven weeks with Hurricane Harvey coming through here and destroying this town and the devastation, the city has rallied around this team," Pettitte said. "This gives these fans a chance to come and cheer."

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Pettitte said that he has been helping with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in southern Texas on Aug. 25 and caused billions of dollars of property damage. The Pettittes had to evacuate their home, which sits along the Buffalo Bayou, then also were forced to leave a hotel they had sought refuge in.

Fortunately, Pettitte said that his home only sustained minor damage; his next-door neighbor returned to find two feet of water in his living room.

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"It was the most stressful three days of my life, I can tell you that much," Pettitte said. "There were air boats coming down my street. It was horrible. The water was right at my front door. We were very fortunate. The neighborhoods just within several miles of me, the people aren't back in their homes and they won't be for a long, long time."

Pettitte retired for the second time after the 2013 season and has been coaching both baseball and football at Second Baptist High School in Houston. Though he pitched for the Astros from 2004-06, Pettitte said that his closest ties are with the Yankees. He remains in close contact with , who will start Game 3 when the ALCS shifts to New York.

"From the standpoint of who are you pulling for, I'm a Yankee," Pettitte said. "I've got a plaque out in Monument Park, I've spent 15 years there. But I'm super excited and fired up to see what the city here is getting an opportunity to experience in Houston. It's awesome."

Putting the 'H' in 'DH'

The Yankees entered Game 2 of the ALCS still seeking their first hit of the postseason from a designated hitter, with manager Joe Girardi plugging switch-hitter back in against right-hander . Dating back to the AL Wild Card Game against the Twins, the Yanks have tried (0-for-9, three strikeouts), Headley (0-for-12, six strikeouts) and (0-for-3) in that role during their first seven contests.

"We're hoping one of the guys can get hot for us. We'll see," Girardi said. "There's a lot of guys that are supposed to hit. Sometimes one spot in the order is going to have more problems than another. That's the nature of the playoffs. I think at any point, they can get hot, just like anyone else in our lineup."

Gift of game

Saturday marked Girardi's 53rd birthday, and while he expected to unwrap a few gifts from his family when the team returns to New York, Girardi said that the best present of all was that the Yankees still had a game to play.

"We're not home," Girardi said. "To me, that's what stands out. I'm happy that we're still playing. That's a good birthday present."