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Andy Pettitte finally gets his WBC coaching moment

TEMPE, Arizona — Andy Pettit was set to be the pitching coach for Team USA at the 2020 Summer Olympics, with former Yankees teammate Scott Brosius to be the manager.

And then the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down. The Summer Games have been postponed until next year. But in an interlude, Pettit lost his step-parents to complications from the virus and felt he couldn’t leave his wife for six weeks to work for the Olympics in such a tragic time. .

Still, he left USA Baseball CEO Paul Cyler with the following words: “don’t forget me.”

Pettitte was not forgotten.

As Team USA assembled to prepare for the World Baseball Classic, Pettitte was there when the Americans played Great Britain on Saturday night. He wasn’t wearing his familiar number 46. This belongs to first baseman Paul Goldschmidt for Team USA. Still, even though Pettit, 50, was wearing the number 13 jersey, pitching in this tournament, he looked and sounded like his exuberant self, excited to be a coach.

“I always wanted to wear a Team USA uniform,” Pettit said at the Papago Sports Complex.

The USA are the favorites to win Pool C, which also includes Great Britain, Canada, Colombia and Mexico. In the MLB dream scenario, the United States, the Dominican Republic, Japan, and South Korea will advance to the semifinals, which will take place March 19-20 in Miami, with the final on March 21.

“I definitely want to win,” said Pettit, a five-time World Series champion with the Yankees.


Team USA pitching coach Andy Pettit #13 and pitcher Kyle Freeland #21 talk during practice.
Getty Images

Pettit retired after the 2013 season. He has been the high school pitching coach at the Houston Seconds his Baptist for the past eight years. His youngest son, Luke, pitches (right-handed), plays in the infield corner, and is in his senior year at Dallas.

Pettit said he now has an empty nest, but has no ambitions to become a major league pitching coach. Team USA manager Mark DeRosa has chosen two coaches, his fellows Brian McCann and Michael Young. For other positions, he listened to recommendations. In August, Pettit enlisted and Dave Righetti, who was the Giants’ pitching coach and won eight seasons and three championships, took over as bullpen coach.

DeRosa described Pettitte as an “absolute beast” for her tenacious and thorough communication with MLB team managers and pitching coaches and planning how to make it comfortable for anyone pitching for Team USA. ’ he called. A surge in pitchers and injuries in March are his MLB club’s biggest concerns about the tournament.

“We want everyone to feel comfortable with what we’re trying to do, and we’re going to take care of these guys,” Pettit said. “We’re going to make decisions in the dugout, but we’re going to look after them and do what the team wants us to do with their players.”

Pettit — the all-time leader in postseason starts (44), wins (19) and innings (257²/₃) — then laughed a little and added, “Of course I’m trying to win this one.”

America’s positional group star power will force DeRosa to make all sorts of difficult choices. And if you say, if only DH 1, what about Kyle Schwarber? who sits

“We’re all going to play billiards and try our best to get at bats and innings,” DeRosa said. “And when you get to Miami [for the single-elimination, which begins with the quarterfinals]the best players are about to play [nine innings]”

It remains difficult to identify who is included in this group. Well, except he one player in particular. That’s Kyle Higashioka, the club’s only non-star, backup type.

The two main catchers are stars JT Realmuto and Will Smith. Higashioka will probably be used to complete the game if runaway in billiards. He said it was because he is a player who understands

“I know my role here. JT and Will are two of the best catchers in the entire game of baseball,” Higashioka said. I know I’ll do some work, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m really happy to be here, and hopefully I’ll be happy to do whatever it takes to take the trophy home.”


Former New York Yankees and Houston Astros pitcher Andy Pettit throws the first pitch before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
Former Yankees and Astros pitcher Andy Pettit throws the first pitch before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series.
Getty Images

Jeff McNeill is the only pure second baseman on Team USA’s roster, so DeRosa said Betts would buy time at the position.

Betts began his minor league career as a second baseman before becoming arguably the best defensive right fielder in the sport. He’s played second in his 30 games in the majors, and told his Dodgers bosses that Aaron was free agent last offseason and he’s ready to play regularly if he wants to get a judge. I said yes. There are plans for Betts to play second base for the Dodgers this season.

Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright will start the season opener for Team USA.

The Americans are the defending champions as the WBC has been uncontested since 2017 due to COVID. . And what was the best piece of advice he received?

“He said, ‘Listen, don’t write a script, make a plan,'” DeRosa said. “Because if it veers off course, I don’t want to be left unsure of where to go. I know it will, but I know it won’t.”

With a better line-up than Team USA and a 1-2 starter punch from Sandy Alcantara and Cristian Javier, the Dominican Republic are the favorites to win the tournament.

“They know we weren’t the last pick, and I think that motivates them,” DeRosa said.

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