TAMPA, Fla. -- When Mariano Rivera walks off the mound for the final time, there will never be another pitcher who matches what he has accomplished.
At least that is Andy Pettitte's opinion. Rivera’s ability to become, in Pettitte’s mind, the best closer of all time with just one pitch, the cutter, is unique and will not be duplicated.
“I’ve never seen anything like it and I don’t think we will see anything like it again, to tell you the truth,” Pettitte said.
Pettitte wouldn't reveal anything about what would be announced on Saturday morning at Steinbrenner Field, but he will be in attendance as Rivera is expected to announce that 2013 will be the year he says goodbye.
“I can’t say anything else except that it has been absolutely amazing to watch,” Pettitte said.
Pettitte also throws a cutter among his pitches, but he thinks that Rivera’s singular focus on the one pitch and his determined mind is what has made him into the all-time saves leader.
“I don’t think you will see another guy throw one pitch and dominate the game of baseball,” Pettitte said. “You might see some guys who have great stuff. You know Pedro [Martinez-like] stuff in his heyday, who absolutely dominated it. That is throwing off-speed stuff, mixing speeds. Hitters know what is coming and it is almost impossible for them to square up. I just don’t think you are going to see that ever again.”
As for Pettitte, he threw 47 pitches in three innings of a simulated game. With no fielders behind him, he faced hitters, including Derek Jeter. Jeter unofficially had a single in four at-bats.
“It is simulated,” Pettitte said with a laugh. “It was a lot stranger when I was pitching for the Astros and came over here and pitched against him.”
That time, Jeter tripled and walked against Pettitte in an exhibition game. As for Pettitte, he thinks his next move is getting into his first game of the spring.
“I’m hoping to be able to get into a game,” Pettitte said.