Astros honor Pettitte, present him with '04 jersey
Retiring Yankees lefty, Houston-area native pitched for three years for hometown club
HOUSTON -- The Astros honored Andy Pettitte with a midgame ceremony on Friday night, presenting the retiring left-hander with a framed jersey from his 2004 season in Houston.
Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan greeted Pettitte on the field at Minute Maid Park in the middle of the fifth inning, with both the Yankees and Astros coming out of their respective dugouts to applaud the ceremony.
"It was great," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Andy's from here. He had some important years here. So I thought it was great that he was recognized, and tomorrow should be special."
Pettitte started his career with the Yankees in 1995 and left New York before the 2004 campaign to sign as a free agent with Houston, where he played for three years before returning to the Yankees in '07.
A 255-game winner over his career, Pettitte went 37-26 with a 3.38 ERA during his seasons in Houston.
"If I wasn't going to go back to the Yankees, I wanted to come home, and hopefully be able to do something special here," Pettitte reflected earlier on Friday. "I did look at this [Astros] club and see the arms that they had, because really that's all I was concerned with, was the pitching staff.
"I knew they had a few guys that were horses, and I felt that if you added me to that, that we would maybe have a chance to get to the postseason. ... It was cool to feel like you'd brought some energy in baseball to the city, so that was definitely a good run we had for three years."
Pettitte resides in nearby Deer Park, Texas, and is scheduled to make his final big league start on Saturday. He and Ryan shared a hug on the field, and Pettitte tipped his cap to the crowd.
It has been a busy week of farewells for Pettitte; he made his final Yankee Stadium start on Sunday, earning a curtain call, and received another ovation on Thursday as the Yankees played their final home game of the season.