Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 4/4/12
Andy Pettitte made his first appearance in a New York Yankees uniform since retiring in 2010.  He entered the sixth inning of today's exhibition game against the New York Mets to a rousing standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at George H. Steinbrenner Stadium in Tampa.

The lefthander looked a little grayer around the ears and a lot rustier everywhere else than the last time he pitched in Game 3 of the ALCS against the Texas Rangers 18 months ago.

The popular Yankees hurler— and member of the Core Four— faced three batters and threw 13 pitches in his 2012 return.  He struggled a little but— on the positive side— he was throwing strikes.  From the faces and cheers in the crowd, you'd think he just won a Game 7.  They even cheered his exit.

One thing that hasn't changed was his confident presence on the mound along with some his familiar old habits. The 16-season veteran still hides his face behind his mitt, peering at the batter before every pitch and can keep the runner at first thinking twice about stealing.

It's like he never left.

Pettitte still has a lot of kinks to get out of his 40-year-old bones.  You just don't wake up, cover first base and chase down flies as easy when entering your fourth decade.  So those two base hits against one strikeout were a push.

Manager Joe Girardi had originally planned to start his old battery-mate in the final exhibition game today but went with Freddy Garcia instead.

Pettitte is expected to rejoin the team on May 1 after working out in the minors.

Not a problem.  It's a long season and Pettitte and Girardi know that.
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