Pettitte reports with an apology

Tuesday, February 19, 2008
New York Yankees Andy Pettitte, left, answers questions during a news conference as general manager Brian Cashman looks on Monday, Feb. 18, 2008 in Tampa, Fla. Monday was the first day Pettitte appeared at spring training baseball camp, four days after pitchers and catchers reported. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Yankees pitcher again owns up to his use of HGH in 2004 while with the Astros.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Andy Pettitte repeated his apologies over and over again, saying he had embarrassed himself and set a terrible example.

Whether he upset Roger Clemens is anyone's guess. They haven't spoken in more than a month.

"Obviously it's put a strain, I think, on our friendship," Pettitte said Monday.

On the day he reported to spring training with the New York Yankees, Pettitte spent nearly an hour explaining why he used human growth hormone and his role in corroborating HGH allegations against Clemens.

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, left, catcher Jorge Posada, center, and shortstop Derek Jeter listen as teammate Andy Pettite answers questions at a news conference about his use of human growth hormone Monday, Feb. 18, 2008 in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

"I felt like I need to come out, be forward with this," Pettitte said. "Whatever circumstances or repercussions come with it, I'll take and I'll take like a man and I'll try to do my job."

Other baseball players have ducked tough questions about allegations of drug use, using evasions and nonspecific replies. Pettitte admitted his mistakes and several times patiently asked reporters "Did I answer your question?"

Wearing a polo shirt and jeans, and flanked by manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman, Pettitte had a hint of the shadow on his face that he's shown on the mound during so many postseason games. He seemed nervous at the start as he read from notes.

"I want to apologize to the New York Yankees' and to the Houston Astros' organizations and to their fans and to all my teammates and to all of baseball fans for the embarrassment I have caused them," he said. "I also want to tell anyone that is an Andy Pettitte fan I am sorry, especially any kids that might look up to me."

He relaxed after a few minutes and went into far greater detail than most accused athletes have about their transgressions.

New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte answered questions during a news conference as manager Joe Girardi looked on Monday in Tampa, Fla. Monday was the first day Pettitte appeared at spring training, four days after pitchers and catchers reported. (JULIE JACOBSON Associated Press)

Off to his right, sitting in a row, were Yankees teammates Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada. When it was over, Jeter and Pettitte wrapped their arms around each other in a hug.

"I know that once I have this press conference and talk to everybody about this and share everything with you, I think the truth will set you free," Pettitte said. "I think I'm going to be able to sleep a lot better at night once all this gets by."

Brian McNamee, the former personal trainer to Pettitte and Clemens, said in December's Mitchell Report that Pettitte used HGH in 2002 while with the Yankees. Pettitte confirmed McNamee's account two days later in a statement.

In a deposition and an affidavit to a congressional committee two weeks ago, Pettitte said he injected himself with HGH for one day in 2004 while with the Astros after obtaining two syringes from his father.

"I am sorry for not telling the whole truth in my original statement," Pettitte said. "I never wanted to bring my dad into a situation like this. This was between me and him, and no one else. I testified about my dad in part because I felt in my heart I had to, but mainly because he urged me to tell the truth, even if it hurt him."

Clemens denied claims by McNamee that he used steroids and HGH from 1998 to 2001, and all three were among those called to give depositions to a congressional committee. Pettitte was excused from testifying alongside Clemens and McNamee at last week's hearing and said he didn't even watch.

Given permission to report four days after other pitchers on the team, Pettitte threw 35 pitches during a bullpen session at the minor league complex before the news conference.

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