Pettitte gets mostly cheers during introduction at Yankees' opener

Updated: April 1, 2008, 11:20 PM ET
Associated Pres

NEW YORK -- Andy Pettitte received a mostly warm welcome Tuesday night when he was introduced at the New York Yankees' opener after a tumultuous offseason.

New York was scheduled to play the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday but the game was postponed by rain. Both clubs were introduced and lined up along the base lines before the 84th and last opening day at Yankee Stadium.

Pettitte got mostly cheers when he came out of the dugout for his introduction but there was a small undercurrent of boos. He didn't seem to notice as he exchanged greetings with his teammates while he moved down the first-base line.

"The fans have always loved Andy," Yankees general partner Hank Steinbrenner said after New York's 3-2 win. "They always will."

Pettitte, who left the clubhouse before it was opened to reporters after the game, is slated to make his first start Saturday after a rocky offseason that included the left-hander admitting to using human growth hormone and accusing buddy Roger Clemens of using HGH.

He also was bothered by back spasms during spring training and opened the year on the disabled list.

Pettitte's turbulent winter started when the Mitchell report was released in December. Brian McNamee, the former personal trainer to Pettitte and Clemens, said in the report that Pettitte used HGH in 2002 while with the Yankees.

Two days after the report came out, Pettitte issued a statement through his agent confirming McNamee's account and saying that was the only time he used the substance.

Pettitte then was asked to testify before a House committee investigating drug use in sports but was excused after he appeared for a deposition and submitted an affidavit. He told congressional lawyers that Clemens informed him nearly a decade ago he had used HGH and said McNamee let him know in 2003 or 2004 that Clemens had used steroids.

Clemens claims Pettitte "misremembers."

Pettitte also admitted his own use of HGH was not limited to 2002, as he previously said, but that he also took injections in 2004 after obtaining the substance from his ailing father.

The 35-year-old lefty, who has 201 regular-season wins and four World Series rings, was granted permission to report late to spring training and held a press conference when he arrived, but then was slowed by back problems. His first regular-season start was pushed back, and he said he was healthy after tossing six scoreless innings in a minor league game in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday.

"I can't foresee any problems at all," Pettitte said Monday. "I mean I feel really good."

ALSO SEE