Yanks tab Pettitte for Game 2, Kuroda for 3
BALTIMORE -- Last season, the Yankees invited Andy Pettitte to throw a ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the American League Division Series against Detroit. This year, they'll be asking a lot more out of his left arm.
Pettitte will start Game 2 of the ALDS against the Orioles on Monday, Yankees manager Joe Girardi announced on Saturday, slotting the 40-year-old veteran into a role he has filled many times in his pinstriped career.
"I just told them, whenever they want me to pitch, I'll pitch," Pettitte said. "It really doesn't matter. I'm just excited to get back out there, you know? It's a long year and it was a hard-fought year to get here. These [Orioles] obviously pushed us hard in September, so it should be a good series and I'm just looking forward to getting after it."
Pettitte, who finished the regular season 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 12 starts, threw a bullpen session during Friday's workout at Yankee Stadium.
He would have been in line to pitch had the Yankees and Orioles needed to play a one-game playoff on Thursday in Baltimore to decide the AL East. Though Pettitte has said his legs have felt tired toward the tail end of his recent starts, he never had any doubt that he'd be back from his left ankle fracture in time for the playoffs.
"I always felt like I was going to get back, but I just knew it was going to be a rush job which obviously isn't a great feeling when you know the responsibility that you have," Pettitte said. "That was the only thing I knew. I knew I was going to get back because of how careful I was being. I was going to make sure I didn't have another setback. I was also trying to rush to get back because you wanted to have time to get prepared for this."
Game 2 has historically been Pettitte's territory; this will be the 16th Game 2 start in 17 seasons for the game's all-time winningest postseason pitcher. He won his last Game 2 start, in the 2010 AL Division Series against the Twins at Target Field.
Girardi said that the Yankees are setting their rotation to have right-hander Hiroki Kuroda pitch Game 3 at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday. Phil Hughes would pitch Game 4, if necessary, and Game 1 starter CC Sabathia would be available for a potential Game 5.
"We just felt that the extra rest would probably help [Kuroda]," Girardi said. "He would have been on his normal turn. We thought the extra rest would help him."
Kuroda was 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 33 starts this year for New York, but showed some signs of fatigue down the stretch as he completed a team-leading 219 2/3 innings -- his heaviest workload since coming to the Major Leagues.
"I'm really thankful and grateful for [Girardi's] consideration and I hope I can meet his expectations," Kuroda said through an interpreter. "I'm just hoping to be in the best mental and physical condition as possible for that game."
Teixeira recalls fallout from Maier game in 1996
BALTIMORE -- Mark Teixeira remembers watching young Jeffrey Maier pluck a Derek Jeter fly ball out of the sky on his television screen, changing the course of the last postseason series the Yankees and Orioles played against each other.
Teixeira was a 16-year-old sophomore at Mount St. Joseph's High School in Baltimore on the evening of Oct. 9, 1996, watching at home as he saw his Orioles suffer a 5-4, 11-inning defeat with some help from Maier, a 12-year-old who reached over the right-field wall at Yankee Stadium.
"I went to a Catholic high school and I had an announcement the next day that we had to pray for Jeffrey Maier and the umpire [Richie Garcia]," Teixeira said.
"Plenty of people were saying bad things about them, and our principal wanted to make sure that that talk wasn't heard in the halls. Four-letter words were not acceptable. It was kind of a lesson in forgiveness. That you have to move on."
Asked if all of the students abided by that lesson, Teixeira grinned and said, "Some of us."
Raised in Severna Park, Md., Teixeira grew up cheering for Cal Ripken Jr. and the O's while taking the Yankees' Don Mattingly as his first-base idol.
Obviously, his allegiances now are completely to the Yankees -- something Baltimore fans still burn about -- but the 16-year-old in him still remembers the pain of watching New York take control of the American League in '96.
"We had a team we thought was going to win it all that year, and one tough call changed the momentum of that series," Teixeira said. "Things kind of weren't the same after that."
As for Jeter, he said that "it's really been a long time" since someone in Baltimore has brought up the Maier game to him; not that he completely believes the city has forgotten about the incident.
"We would have beat 'em anyway," Jeter shrugged.
Veteran Jones held out for series vs. Orioles
BALTIMORE -- Veteran outfielder Andruw Jones will have to take on the role of observer rather than active participant during this year's American League Division Series between the Yankees and Orioles.
Jones was informed on Saturday afternoon that he did not make New York's 25-man active roster for the upcoming series, which starts Sunday night in Baltimore.
The 35-year-old Jones will remain with the Yankees and could eventually be activated after the ALDS, but for now, he'll have to sit back and wait for an opportunity.
"It's disappointing but I'm frustrated with myself more than anything," Jones said in the Yankees clubhouse shortly after being informed of the club's decision.
"I just didn't finish as strong as I wanted to finish. So I don't think I deserved to be on it. This is a really short series so we need to have guys that have a hot bat."
The Yankees' decision doesn't exactly come as a surprise considering Jones' prolonged struggles at the plate during the second half of the year. At the All-Star break, Jones was hitting .244 with 11 homers and 22 RBIs but the numbers went into a sharp decline from that point on.
Jones managed to hit just .142 with six extra-base hits and 12 RBIs the rest of the way. The production was even worse in September, which all but assured utilityman Jayson Nix and infielder Eduardo Nunez would both be chosen for the postseason roster.
New York's final 25-man roster for the ALDS is not expected to be officially announced until Sunday morning.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.