"I think the fans are going to let him know how much they missed him and we miss him," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "When they look at Andy Pettitte, they associate him with the championships that we've had here in recent years."
Pettitte's return to pinstripes means he can resume his chases of the all-time legends in the franchise ledgers. He ranks fifth on the Yankees' all-time strikeouts list with 1,275, and ninth on the all-time wins list with 149 victories.
The Devil Rays will counter with right-hander Jae Seo, a former Met who went 1-8 with a 5.00 ERA last season.
TB: RHP Jae Seo (1-8, 5.00 ERA in 2006)
Seo will be making the 93rd start of his professional career, his 17th in the American League with the Rays. Seo allowed five first-inning runs in his final Spring Training outing against the Reds on Friday.
NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (14-13, 4.20 ERA in 2006)
Pettitte will be making his first regular-season start for New York since Sept. 26, 2003, against the Orioles. The left-hander made three Grapefruit League starts for the Yankees in a spring that included a lengthy bout with back spasms. He last pitched in a Minor League game against the Blue Jays' Double-A lineup.
Player to watch
Ty Wigginton likes to double his fun against Pettitte. The first baseman has seen more of Pettitte than any other Rays player -- 18 at-bats -- and the left-hander has had the advantage so far. Still, all three of Wigginton's hits against Pettitte were doubles.
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Official game notes
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Thursday: Devil Rays (RHP James Shields, 6-8, 4.84 ERA in 2006) at Yankees (RHP Mike Mussina, 15-7, 3.51 ERA in 2006), 7:05 p.m. ET
Friday: Orioles (LHP Adam Loewen, 6-6, 5.37 in 2006) at Yankees (LHP Kei Igawa, Major League debut), 7:05 p.m. ET
Saturday: Orioles (RHP Steve Trachsel, 15-8, 4.97 ERA in 2006) at Yankees (RHP Carl Pavano, 0-0, 8.31 ERA), 1:05 p.m. ET