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Thursday, April 4, 2013
First Pitch: Pettitte in the cold

By Andrew Marchand

Andy Pettitte
Andy Pettitte will make his 38th career start against the Red Sox on Thursday.
At 40 years old, Andy Pettitte laughs about how his body doesn't react well to the cold anymore. Despite his warm Texas blood, as a younger man, Pettitte had no trouble withstanding cool air. But now it takes him more time to loosen up with the frigid temperatures.

"I think it is going to be cold," Pettitte said of Thursday night, when he makes his 2013 season debut.

The temperature is expected to be in the 40s. Since 2000, Pettitte has thrown 16 2/3 innings with the temperature 45 degrees or colder. He is 2-0 and has allowed seven runs (five earned), which is a 2.76 ERA.

It is not an October start, but the weather will make it feel that way as Pettitte tries to help the Yankees avoid being swept by the Red Sox to begin the season. The experienced Pettitte is, of course, an ideal guy to have on the mound under the circumstances.

When Pettitte throws his first pitch Thursday, he will tie Red Ruffing, having made at least one start in 15 different seasons with the Yankees. Only Whitey Ford has done it more, with 16. Pettitte will be making his 38th career start against the Red Sox. He is 18-10 with a 3.91 ERA. In the Bronx, he is 11-7 with a 3.95 ERA.

The Red Sox who have had the most success against Pettitte are Shane Victorino, David Ross and Mike Napoli. They have only 40 at-bats combined but they have an OPS above 1.000. Dustin Pedroia has faced Pettitte the most -- 40 at-bats as well -- but has just a .225 average against Pettitte.

Pettitte seems to really savor being back with the Yankees after his return in 2012. With Mariano Rivera retiring and Derek Jeter struggling to return from his ankle injury, it might not be out of the realm of possibility that Pettitte hangs on the longest of the Core Four. However, Pettitte might want the Yankees to put up a roof in the Bronx.

UP NOW: Robinson Cano seemed uneasy talking about his agent swap.

ON DECK: Matt Ehalt and I will be at the Stadium for the final game of this series. Pettitte will be opposed by Ryan Dempster. Wally Matthews will pick things up in Detroit, where the pitching matchups will be Ivan Nova versus Doug Fister on Friday, David Phelps versus Max Scherzer on Saturday and CC Sabathia versus Justin Verlander on Sunday.

QUESTION: What is your favorite Pettitte moment?