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June 22, 2008 -- The Post's Steve Serby chatted with the Yankeest.gif righty who has 260 career wins and last week became the sixth pitcher in major league history to record 10 or more wins in 17 consecutive seasons.

New York Yankees

Q: Thought you were washed up.

A: I was (smiles). Just ask everybody.

Q: 2007 low point?

A: The low point happened right after the high point, probably, because I won four starts in a row - the last two starts in July and the first two starts of August - and then I hit the three-game stretch where I pitched like six innings total or seven innings total and got pounded, and got taken out of the rotation. Then I got back in the rotation in September and won three more games. It wasn't the way you want to do it, it's not the plan I had when spring training started, but it ended up being the path I took, and I think I appreciate the good times more now because of the battles I went through last year.

Q: Did reports of your demise motivate you entering this season?

A: I was already motivated to prove to myself that I could do better than last year - that last year was just a bad year, and I can still do this.

Q: When will you make up your mind about retirement?

A: I guess when the season ends and I step away from it for a little bit, then I'll figure out what I want to do after that.

Q: But you'll leave the door open to continue?

A: You can never say never. I watched (Roger) Clemens say 99.9 percent, and he played for four more years. I'm not foolish enough to sit here and say that it's 100 percent of anything.

Q: What would it mean to you to play in the All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium . . . or start it?

A: (Laughs) It would be great just to make the team.

Q: What do you remember about your last All-Star Game appearance in 1999?

A: Ted Williams was there. . . . I played catch with David Cone on the day of the workout. . . . I did get in the game. . . . I struck out (Sammy) Sosa and (Mark) McGwire back to back to get out of the inning. That was just a great experience. But this is Yankee Stadium, this is where I work, the last year of the building, and coming to the end of my career sooner or later - it'd be really great to have a chance to be there.

Q: (Jason) Giambi's thong . . . your thoughts?

A: (Laughs) The thought now is people think he wears 'em every day . . . and why doesn't everybody have one 'cause we all go in slumps?

Q: During your low point last year, did you consider borrowing it?

A: I never, ever, ever considered borrowing it from him (smiles).

Q: How does your (wife Jana) and family feel about you possibly stepping away?

A: I've been doing this a long time, and they've been supportive the whole time. But I think if I went to more of my kids' ballgames than of my own ballgames, that would be their first choice.

Q: Your 9-year-old Brycen?

A: He's 9 going on 15 (smiles) . . . he loves baseball (he's a pitcher). I think he's at the point now where he really likes that dad plays baseball for a living.

Q: Your 5-year-old Peyton?

A: He's even more into baseball than my older boy is. He knows everybody on the team, he knows everybody's number, he knows most of the opponents. Right now, all he cares about is "When am I gonna get to hit again?" 'Cause I didn't look very good the other day . . . I grounded out three times (in Houston). I told him, "Hey, at least dad didn't strike out." He goes, "Well yeah, that's true dad."

Q: Your 18-year-old daughter Kyra?

A: She's always on the run. She's always on the phone. In this day and age, when you have a car, computer and a phone, what else do you need?

Q: How would you fill the void without baseball?

A: I don't anticipate having a void.

Q: Pitching coach or managing?

A: I do not think so.

Q: What would 300 wins mean to you?

A: It means I played way too long, probably . . . The last 40 are a lot harder the first 40.

Q: What would a 20-win season mean to you?

A: I would ask myself why I waited so darn long (smiles).

Q: Better late than never, right?

A: You know what? If I somehow pulled that off this year, it would be worth missing it all those other years to do it at 39 years old.

Q: When you were yanked from the rotation last year, Ron Guidry stopped talking to you.

A: It was just a situation that was uncomfortable. . . . Sometimes people deal with things by just not talking about it. I don't have anything against Gator, we got along great. That's the way it was for 10 days or so.

Q: Instant replay for home runs?

A: I'm all for getting it right.

Q: If you could go back in time and pick the brain of one pitcher?

A: I've always liked what (Sandy) Koufax was able to do . . . in about 10 seasons. And to be that dominating all the time.

Q: Your initial reservations about Joba (Chamberlain) moving in midseason to a starter?

A: We thought having him and Mo (Rivera) in the eighth and the ninth really gave us something at the back end of the game. Was it the smoothest transition? Probably not. But now that we're through most of it, and he's almost up to what everybody else does. I believe he's gonna be good at whatever he does.

Q: Do you think you're in the Hall of Fame conversation?

A: I think I made it to the conversation. Depends who's in the conversation whether it goes farther than that.

Q: Your winning percentage will help.

A: I think being 100 games over .500 will help.

Q: Would your career be unfulfilled if you didn't win a championship?

Q: No. Unfulfilled is too strong a word. I've been really lucky. I've played a long time, on some really good teams, and I'm still out there doing something that I always loved to do. It's great to be a champion and I'd obviously love to have it. But I don't think my career is gonna be defined by the fact that I didn't happen to win a championship if we don't win this year or next year or whenever I retire.

Q: Your Yankee legacy?

A: A lot of guys never get a chance to play for the Yankees. They're the most well known sports franchise in the world - and I got to wear the uniform.

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