Moose pays Yankees a visit
Recently retired righty has no regrets over calling it a career
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mike Mussina made the familiar drive to George M. Steinbrenner Field, and the security guards waved him right into Derek Jeter's parking space. 270 wins do a lot to open the gates.
The recently retired right-hander was a special guest visitor at Yankees camp on Tuesday, escaping the Pennsylvania cold for a vacation and some fun in the sun. He has no regrets about his decision to walk away from the game.
"I'm doing nothing," Mussina said, grinning. "And when I walked through the weight room, I knew why I'm doing nothing. I feel good being retired."
As he would later reveal, Mussina knew last spring that 2008 would be his final season. There was no point during the offseason that he thought about changing his mind, he said, and even when pitchers and catchers began reporting to Spring Training camps, Mussina found himself content.
"It just seemed like a longer winter," he said. "It didn't seem any different. When the weather gets better, it'll be different. I'll see them playing on TV more often, and it'll be different. But I'm good."
Standing in the hallway outside manager Joe Girardi's office, Mussina appeared relaxed, wearing an ESPN cap, a Ford Mustang T-shirt, shorts and sandals. Girardi embraced Mussina and asked if he wanted to change into uniform for the day.
"No, I'm not getting dressed, and I'm not throwing out the first pitch," Mussina said.
"Why not?" Girardi replied. "Bernie [Williams] did it."
Mussina's former corner locker is now occupied by CC Sabathia, and Mussina greeted his replacement, calling him "Mr. Sabathia" and telling him to keep the space.
Unfortunately, the physical presence Mussina constructed in the Yankees' clubhouse last spring -- a false window overlooking a poster of a lake, complete with a shelf upon which he placed knick-knacks -- is no more, replaced by a large blue "NY" logo.
"I think that was a 20-win window," Mussina said. "Maybe the Steiner Sports guys took it."
Mussina asked reporters about the progress of the new Yankee Stadium and the demolition of the old park, which he helped close. He said that he would probably be seen in the Bronx at some point this year.
"We'll probably try to get to some [games] in the summer -- one or two, maybe," he said. "If I get invited to the Old-Timers Game, maybe I'll pitch in that. Maybe I'll wait a year."
A sweaty Andy Pettitte embraced Mussina, who asked, "Where have you been, working out on Field 4?"
Rookie Phil Coke stopped by to shake Mussina's hand, and Mussina thanked him for the outs he recorded in relief for Mussina's 19th and 20th victories. Coke got one out against the Blue Jays on Sept. 23 and three against the Red Sox on Sept. 28.
"I remember these things. I've got to live in those moments for a while," Mussina said.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.