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Pettitte throws BP to Bird in camp appearance

MLB.com @BryanHoch

TAMPA, Fla. -- Greg Bird wants to see a few more left-handed pitchers this spring, and the Yankees happened to have a pretty good one in their camp on Tuesday morning: Andy Pettitte, back in pinstripes for a two-day stint as a special guest instructor.

So Bird asked the the 256-game winner to air his arm out in some extra work on a back diamond of the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex. The resulting loud line drives may have reinforced Pettitte's belief that it was the right time to retire four years ago.

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Greg Bird wants to see a few more left-handed pitchers this spring, and the Yankees happened to have a pretty good one in their camp on Tuesday morning: Andy Pettitte, back in pinstripes for a two-day stint as a special guest instructor.

So Bird asked the the 256-game winner to air his arm out in some extra work on a back diamond of the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex. The resulting loud line drives may have reinforced Pettitte's belief that it was the right time to retire four years ago.

View Full Game Coverage

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"He wanted to work on two-seamers, running balls in, cutters, so I actually was throwing him all my pitches," Pettitte said. "That was fun, to be able to go out there. He said he hasn't seen a whole lot of lefties in this spring so far. He looks pretty good. He looks really good."

Video: Bird flying high this spring with early power surge

The Yankees have talked about using Bird as their first baseman against right-handed pitching, with Chris Carter starting against lefties -- but Bird is making a case to take those at-bats, too. Bird is hitting .389 (7-for-18) with two doubles, three homers, five RBIs and three walks in eight Grapefruit League games.

"I've felt good," Bird said. "Just working off him was nice to see something different, because we don't have any left-handed throwers in camp as far as BP goes. Since he was here, I was like, 'What have you got? Let's go hit some more.' It was great."

Pettitte, 44, has been keeping his arm in shape by serving as the pitching coach at Second Baptist High School in Houston. He said that while playing ball surrounded by palm trees brought back a flood of memories, he has "no thoughts at all" about making a comeback.

"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."

For Pettitte, an influx of "Baby Bombers" have made the walk between the clubhouse and the coaches' dressing area seem longer than ever. Only Dellin Betances, Brett Gardner, Austin Romine, CC Sabathia and Adam Warren remain from the 2013 Yankees, a team for whom Pettitte went 11-11 with a 3.74 ERA in 30 starts.

"When I walked in, just talking to the coaching staff, that's all they're talking about: 'Man, we're young, but we've got some great talent,'" Pettitte said. "Then you start looking around the room and you're like, 'Hey, where's everybody at? I didn't play with any of these guys.' There's not a whole lot of guys left.

"You can see the youth and it's exciting, it really is. I think it's a good shot in the arm for the organization and it'll be interesting to see how they all come along and progress. Hopefully a handful of these guys will be the core group of guys over the next 10 to 15 years here in this organization. That would be really special to see, for sure."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees