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Pettitte answers questions for more than an hour

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  February 18, 2008 04:44 PM

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TAMPA -- Andy Pettitte spoke to reporters at Legends Field for more than an hour concerning is own HGH use and his relationship with Roger Clemens going forward. The Yankee lefty, who testified before Congressional lawyers in a 105-page deposition that Clemens admitted to HGH use, was flanked by GM Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi. Also there in support were long time teammates - Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada, who sat through the press conference in its entirety and then hugged Pettitte one-by-one at its conclusion.

Pettitte repeated that he felt he would be and wanted to be friends with Roger Clemens when all this was over, but the one thing Pettitte would not go into was his testimony against Clemens.

Petitte also indicated several times his decision to take HGH was "stupid" and out of "desperation" because of his injury situation with a torn flexor muscle in his elbow. He claimed he never took HGH to gain an edge but only to get off the DL sooner to help repair the tissue damage in his elbow.

Pettitte said he will apologize to his Yankee teammates for the distraction he caused and has already apologized to the Steinbrenner family for "embarrassing" the organization. Supposedly, the Steinbrenners told Pettitte they were behind him "100 percent" and that he hadn't brought the organization any embarrassment. Pettitte said he disagreed with the owners on that point.

Asked why he took HGH again in 2004 he said, "Stupidity and desperation are the only excuse I can give you...I found out my dad (Tom) was using it) I had just signed a three-year contract with the Astros and after my first start I found out I needed surgery...I wasn't going to have surgery. I felt I was going to let the organization down...."

He said of Clemens, "I love him like a brother. It's a horrible situation....both men (Brian McNamee) are my friends. It's a horrible position to be in."

Pettitte said he spoke to Clemens about a month ago, but not since. He said, "The main reason is it wouldn't be smart to talk to him while we're under oath (and testifying). It's bound to pout a strain (on our relationship) because I usually talk to him and we play golf several times (in the off-season). It's an uncomfortable situation."

Asked whether listening to Clemens say Pettitte "misremembers" their 1999 conversation when Clemens admitted he took HGH, Pettitte said, "I don't take it personally. Roger is a grown man. He's doing what he feels is the right thing to do." Pettite reiterate that McNamee told the truth about his HGH use, but would not get into whether McNamee was telling the truth about Clemens.

Asked why he didn't tell the Mitchell Report the whole truth about his use in 2004, Pettite said, "I'm sorry I didn't tell the whole truth. I never wanted to ring my dad into this. He (his dad) urged me to tell the truth even if it hurt him. He's a private individual. I hope with the help of y'all I can put this behind me."

Pettitte was asked whether he thought about retiring after this situation came up and he admitted he did.

"I'd be lying if I said that didn't cross my mind. Not over the last couple of days...It's been a hard off-season.." He said about bailing out, "That wouldn't be the thing to do as a man. I'll take it like a man."

Pettitte admitted that it was McNamee who called to tip him off that the would be named in the Mitchell Report about a week before the report came out.

Pettitte admitted that he did not want to testify before Congress and thanked his attorneys, who were present, for getting him out of it.

"I didn't want to do it," Pettitte said.

Pettitte doesn't think he'll be suspended by Commissioner Bud Selig.

He said of his own preparedness for the season, "My arm feels great..." But he lamented that his legs were not as strong as he would have hoped at this time.

Pettitte asked whether he feels the sport has been cleaned up said, "If you're doing anything all you have to do is see what I've been put through and what Roger has been through and you'd get cleaned up real quick."

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