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Pettitte backs Papi off the plate

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  March 17, 2008 03:43 PM

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TAMPA - Andy Pettitte admitted he did try to back Big Papi off the plate in his second at-bat today which seemed to irritate the Sox slugger.

Pettitte, who hadn't pitched in 10 days because of elbow soreness, came in tight to Papi's midsection, but didn't hit him.

"He's a great hitter," said Pettitte. "No doubt I backed him off. You just can't lay it in over the plate for him. Got to move the ball in and out. Got to hopefully make a hitter feel uncomfortable. He's a great hitter and you have to hopefully pitch him inside.

"When you've got great hitters," added Pettitte, "you've got to throw the ball inside to them. Not balls for strikes because they can handle those balls. You've got to show them different looks; move the ball up and down and change speeds on them if you want to get them out and keep them in the ballpark."

Pettitte said he felt "uncomfortable" overall, but that he had no issues with his elbow.

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