Yankee Stadium welcomes Andy Pettitte

NEW YORK -- Ex-New York Yankees star Andy Pettitte received a hero's welcome before throwing the first pitch prior to the Yankees' 5-3, Game 2 loss to the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series on Sunday.

Standing on the mound and soaking in a rousing ovation, Pettitte tossed a strike to longtime friend and teammate Jorge Posada.

It was the first time Pettitte appeared in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd since announcing his retirement in the offseason.

"It was a cool moment that's for sure. It was special," Pettitte said afterward. "It kind of just happened so quick -- you go out there, you throw it and you're in the dugout."

Pettitte is thoroughly enjoying retirement.

But when asked if part of him wondered what it would be like to return to the mound, Pettitte said, "Yeah, there's no doubt. And I don't know if that will ever go away."

He quickly added: "When I'm away ... (I'm) not thinking about playing or thinking about the games, I'm just so content. It's just been awesome; retirement's been everything I thought it would be."

Pettitte finished his career 240-138 with a 3.88 ERA. In the postseason, he was 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA. He said he throws a football with his kids, but hasn't worked out that much.

"The desire is not there," Pettitte said on Saturday. "The same desire that made me go home is the same desire to play. Again, like I've said, unless God works a miracle and gives me that desire to do that, I don't see any chance."

Pettitte declined to comment on the upcoming Roger Clemens trial in which he is expected to be a witness.

But he did say he got a "flashback" while throwing the pregame pitch to Posada.

Watching the 40-year-old Posada wipe dirt near the plate before he delivered the pitch brought back old memories for Pettitte.

"I was like, 'This is pretty surreal,'" Pettitte said. "Other than that it was just great to be able to be back, to see the fans. Just another special day for me at Yankee Stadium."

Pettitte was joined by his three sons, his daughter and his wife, Laura, who sang the national anthem before the game.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.