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A Pettitte primer for today in Rochester

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle called it "Andy-palooza" this morning. Yes, Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte, he of the 240 regular-season wins and the 19 wins that are most in postseason history, will pitch today at 2 at Frontier Field against Pawtucket in what could be his final start before returning to the Bronx. I'll be on hand covering the event, which figures to rival a 1997 appearance by Hideki Irabu and a 1997 exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles for the most well-attended in stadium history.

Pettitte should throw 85-90 pitches and then it will be up to the Yankees to decide what's next, be it another minor-league start or a badly-needed return to the tattered big-league rotation.

If you're going, Frontier Field is about 75 minutes from Buffalo. Take the Thruway to Exit 47 (LeRoy) and follow 490 East to Exit 12 (Broad Street/stadiums) Plenty of signs to get you the last mile to the ballpark. Parking in the adjacent Kodak lots is $6. But get there early.

The gates open at 12:30 and the box office is already open (8 a.m.) for will-call line pickup. You should not try to walk up to a will-call line at, say, 1:30 and expect to get in. That's not a Rochester issue; that's a fact in any stadium. As of this morning, there are standing-room and berm tickets still available at the Frontier Field box office or by calling 585-423-WING (9464).

D&C columnist Leo Roth gives it up to the Wings for working to get this game together for Rochester fans and makes all the salient points. GM Dan Mason is one of the hardest workers in the game and will do anything for his town's fans. But as I noted in today's Inside Baseball column, I simply disagree (first note after Johnny Damon interview). It's a moneygrab, pure and simple.

Far be it from me to bang the Red Wings for wanting to make a buck. I simply think they should be trying to cash in on their own team. But that's failing miserably (another lousy affiliate, one playoff season since 1997 and back-to-back 90-loss seasons), so they're jumping on the Yankee train for the one summer they can. Whatever.

---Mike Harrington


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