08/01/10 7:05 PM ET
Wood's new skipper an old friend
Teammate with righty on Cubs, Girardi familiar with newcomer
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
The newest Yankee made it to Tropicana Field in time to suit up for Sunday's series finale against the Rays, trying on a road-gray No. 39 jersey before pitching an inning of scoreless relief in the Yankees' 3-0 loss. Wood was acquired from the Indians on Saturday in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations.
"I played against a lot of these guys for a while, too, but definitely playing with Joe and knowing him and having a relationship there helps," said Wood, who arrived in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area on Sunday around 4 a.m. ET.
Girardi was a catcher on Wood's Cubs teams for three seasons beginning in 2000, and he said that he knows Wood's family. Their wives are friendly as well, which should make the transition an easy one.
"He doesn't quite have the same velocity as when I caught him," Girardi said. "He maybe had a couple more miles per hour, but he'll get up to 96 [mph]. It's not like he's throwing 88. He still has a good breaking ball. I caught him as a starter, so he's a little bit different than back then, but he's still a power arm."
Wood was 1-4 with eight saves and a 6.30 ERA in 23 relief appearances during what he called an "up-and-down" season with Cleveland. He will be asked to assume the role previously held by Chan Ho Park, who was designated for assignment on Saturday.
Wood was available to pitch immediately, having been activated from the disabled list following a stint this month to heal a blister on his right index finger.
Wood pitched in four postseasons with the Cubs but never advanced further than the 2003 National League Championship Series; he is looking forward to seeing if these Yankees can make that next step and defend their World Series title.
"This is why you play the game," Wood said. "This is the atmosphere -- getting into the postseason and having a chance to win a championship. This is what it's all about."
As Pettitte throws, 'everything's good'
ST. PETERSBURG -- Andy Pettitte threw 25 pitches off a half-mound on Sunday at Tropicana Field and will accompany the Yankees back to New York, where he will await word on a potential Minor League rehabilitation start.
"I felt good -- I had a good week down here," Pettitte said. "My arm feels great. I've been able to long-toss and throw down here. Everything's good."
Pettitte has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 20, retroactive to July 16, with a strained left groin.
Pettitte expects to make "a couple" of rehab starts and said he is probably about six days ahead of the Yankees' conservative estimates, which said Pettitte would miss four to five weeks.
"It's actually been good," Pettitte said. "I think I'm a little older, so mentally I know there's no rush. I want to be healthy, so I'm trying to take it slow. I've been down here getting after it in the mornings, and this heat is good. It's so hot down here being outside, and I think that's helped me along."
The Yankees' original starting lineup on Sunday had Mark Teixeira playing first base and Lance Berkman as the designated hitter, but manager Joe Girardi wanted to give Teixeira a DH day, so he flipped the players. ... Robinson Cano could get a day off on Wednesday. ... In Saturday's victory, all six of the Yankees' hits were for extra bases (three doubles, three homers). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marked just the fourth time in franchise history that New York has registered at least six hits in a game and had them all go for extra bases. It also happened June 20, 1971, against the Orioles, June 21, 1992, against Baltimore and July 9, 1994, against the Angels.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.