9/20/2013 7:53 P.M. ET
Girardi, players reflect on what Pettitte means to Yanks
By Josh Vitale / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- David Robertson remembers watching Andy Pettitte pitch when he was first called up to the Majors, in 2008, and he recalls being amazed every time he saw the veteran left-hander pitch with a runner on first and one out, saying Pettitte always threw the perfect pitch to get a ground-ball double play.
"I just remember sitting there and thinking, 'That's what I need to learn how to do,'" Robertson said on Friday following the announcement that Pettitte will retire at the end of this season. "He is just the definition of a gamer. When he takes the ball, he's intense out there. He's determined, he knows what he wants to do against every hitter and he just never gives up, never gives in.
"He's an intense competitor, great teammate, great friend, and he's going to be missed."
Robertson is just one of the many Yankees who shared fond memories of Pettitte on Friday.
Pettitte has a career 255-152 record and 3.86 ERA over 18 seasons in the Majors, and he'll retire as baseball's all-time leader in career playoff victories, with 19.
"He's just one of the all-time greatest winners to me, playing against him and playing with him," third baseman Alex Rodriguez said. "Sometimes you build up a guy and put him on a pedestal when you play across the hall from him or across the dugout, and he's one guy that the closer you get, the bigger and better he gets."
"He's been a great teammate, mentor, father figure to a lot of us here, and we're going to miss him a lot. He's meant a lot to this organization," pitcher Phil Hughes said. "The way he's handled himself here and the way he's treated a lot of the young guys ... He's going to be missed for sure."
"He has always been an unbelievable competitor, and listening to him talk about coming back and wanting to help the guys get situated -- that's what he did," manager Joe Girardi said. "He was there for those guys, and he has pushed those guys. We have watched what he goes through in between starts, and even what he does on the day he starts, to get prepared, is a lot. It looks like it's a conditioning day before the game even starts, but he knows that's what he had to do physically to perform. He's got a tremendous heart."
With closer Mariano Rivera having already announced that he will retire at the end of the season, Pettitte becomes the second member of the Core Four to be hanging up his cleats this year.
The two will be missed, Robertson said, but it's up to the next generation of Yankees to step up in their absence.
"It's going to be tough. It's going to be a new age next year, some new faces in here," Robertson said. "I mean, we're losing Mariano and Andy Pettitte. Those are two legends here at Yankee Stadium. Nobody's going to be able to replace them. All we can do is hopefully have the guys we have fill in, step up and do as best they can."
Suzuki honored, donates jersey to Hall of Fame
NEW YORK -- Prior to Friday's game against the Giants, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki donated the jersey he wore on Aug. 21, when he notched his 4,000th professional hit, to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Suzuki was joined on the field by radio broadcaster John Sterling and representatives from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, including president Jeff Idelson and Brad Horn, vice president of communications and education.
The Yankees showed a video of Suzuki's career highlights, from his days with the Orix Blue Wave in the Japan Pacific League all the way to the Mariners and the Yankees.
Suzuki jogged onto the field to applause from the Yankee Stadium crowd before assistant general manager Jean Afterman presented him with a gift from the organization honoring his achievement.
Suzuki attained the milestone with a first-inning single to third base in a win over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. He now has 4,015 career hits; 2,737 in the U.S. Major Leagues and 1,278 in Japan.
In addition, the Yankees surprised Sterling after he hosted the ceremony, with YES broadcaster Michael Kay coming onto the field to honor him for his 25 seasons of calling Yankees games.
The Yankees presented Sterling with two roundtrip tickets and a seven-night stay in the European country of his choice, and Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson brought a set of luggage onto the field for him to use.
Yanks honor Latino Baseball HOF members
NEW YORK -- The Yankees held a pregame ceremony on Friday to honor some of the members of the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2014, continuing their celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
Former Yankee Felipe Rojas Alou, a 2010 inductee into the Latino Baseball Hall of Fame, was on hand to help recognize 2014 inductees Bert Campaneris, Omar Moreno, Osvaldo Virgil and Moises Alou.
The Yankees will host another pregame ceremony on Saturday, when the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame will induct former Yankees pitcher Vernon "Lefty" Gomez.
"These two great Hall of Fame institutions honor the rich history of our national pastime, with a particular focus on the undeniable impact of the Latino ballplayer," Manuel Garcia, the Yankees' director of Latino Affairs, said in a statement. "As our fans know and appreciate, the Yankees and tradition go hand in hand, which is why we are honored to celebrate the accomplishments of these legendary athletes."
Earlier this month, Latinobaseball.com honored closer Mariano Rivera with the 2013 Yankees Latino MVP Award, and the Yankees Foundation gave scholarships to the winning teams of the 2012 Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano Youth Baseball Tournaments (hosted by the Dominican Sports Foundation of New York), as well as to five students from the League of Puerto Rican Women.
• After batting Curtis Granderson in the leadoff spot in six straight games after outfielder Brett Gardner went out with a strained left oblique, Girardi moved Ichiro Suzuki to the top of the order against the Giants on Friday, with Granderson batting fifth.
"I just tried to shake the lineup a little bit. We're struggling scoring runs," Girardi said. "Grandy's been hitting some home runs, so maybe you drop him in the order a little bit with some of the guys that have been on base, and maybe they become two- and three-run homers instead of solo shots. That was my thought."
• Girardi said that reliever Boone Logan, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 6 because of a bone spur in his elbow, will be available to pitch on Friday. Logan expects to have surgery during the offseason to repair it but plans to pitch for the remainder of the season.
• On this day in Yankees history, the team dedicated a plaque in Monument Park to Thurman Munson (1980) and a monument to longtime owner George M. Steinbrenner (2010).
Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.