NEW YORK -- Even while coaching high school baseball back home in Texas, Andy Pettitte always maintained contact with various Yankees to discuss the intricacies of pitching.
Now in a new role as an adviser with his old team, Pettitte is looking forward to spending more time in person assisting New York's staff.
"I felt like I've been in the mix because it's kind of always, I'm staying in touch with guys and stuff like that," Pettitte said Tuesday in his first public comments since taking the job. "But I guess just get me back up here, and for me it's a great time."
Pettitte, 51, won five World Series championships in two stints with the Yankees during an 18-year major league career that ended in 2013.
He will be in uniform before games when he is around the team, though he said he has some personal commitments that will keep him away from the club at times. He watched ace Gerrit Cole's bullpen session Tuesday, terming it "unbelievable" and calling the right-hander "the best pitcher in the league."
"I hope I could be just a good sounding board for some guys, and also I've been through all this, walked through it," Pettitte said. "I know a lot of times for me when I just think of having somebody to shoot some stuff off of and just maybe a different perspective."
Pettitte previously advised the Yankees by traveling and watching minor league pitchers before the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. He had been talking about joining the team as an adviser at the major league level for the past few years before officially signing on recently.
"He's just so good in the room and has relationships already with a lot of these guys, even when he's been away from us the last whatever, couple years, till we finally were able to get this done," said manager Aaron Boone, who played with Pettitte on the 2003 Yankees.
"He stays in contact, he follows us, he and I stay in contact. But now that he's going to be in the mix more and here, you just kind of see the impact he has on, not only pitchers but all players. You know, it's Andy Pettitte. He walks in with a lot of credibility and credentials, but also with a humility that he's just easy to approach."
Pettitte flew into New York on Friday, watched rehabbing reliever Jonathan Loaisiga throw 16 pitches to injured slugger Aaron Judge in a simulated game Sunday and then threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Yankees faced the New York Mets in their Subway Series opener Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
"Whenever I can be here, they want me here," Pettitte said. "That's what they told me."
Earlier this year, Pettitte served as the pitching coach for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, helping them reach the championship game against Japan.
A three-time All-Star, Pettitte was 256-153 with a 3.85 ERA in 531 big league games (521 starts) over 15 seasons with the Yankees and three with his hometown Houston Astros. He is third in Yankees history with 219 wins and is the club's career leader in strikeouts with 2,020. He is tied with Hall of Famer Whitey Ford for the most starts in team history with 438.
Pettitte also owns major league postseason records for wins (19), starts (44) and innings (276⅔). He won the clinching Game 6 in the 2009 World Series against Philadelphia for New York's most recent championship.