Pettitte to pitch for Yankees in 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Andy Pettitte decided to pitch for the New York Yankees in 2008 and put off retirement.Pettitte’s agent, Randy Hendricks, said Monday that the 35-year-old left-hander had started telling teammates on Sunday. Hendricks then informed Yankees general manager Brian Cashman of the news.Hendricks said Yankees captain Derek Jeter and catcher Jorge Posada had lobbied Pettitte to return, and the pitcher consulted his wife.”Players such as Jeter and Posada told him how much they needed him back, as did Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi,” Hendricks said. “Andy decided this weekend that he didn’t want to keep the Yankees on hold as they sought to determine their team for next year.”The decision came as the Yankees set a Monday deadline for the Minnesota Twins to decide whether they will trade them two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana for pitcher Phil Hughes, center fielder Melky Cabrera and a midlevel prospect.Pettitte had declined a $16 million option last month, saying he needed more time, and Posada said last week that Pettitte was leaning toward retirement. The pitcher had said late in the season that it had become increasingly difficult to be away from his family during the season.Pettitte was 15-9 with a 4.05 ERA this year in his return to the Yankees following three seasons with his hometown Houston Astros. He went 11-3 after the All-Star break and was New York’s most effective starter during the first-round playoff loss to Cleveland, pitching 6 1-3 scoreless innings in Game 2.New York had said it could wait until next month for Pettitte to make a decision. Cashman said the $16 million option Pettitte declined was a standing offer.All of the Yankees’ major free agents have now decided to return, with Pettitte following Posada, third baseman Alex Rodriguez and closer Mariano Rivera. The only major change thus far as been replacing manager Joe Torre with Girardi.New York’s projected rotation now includes Pettitte, Chien-Ming Wang, Mike Mussina, Hughes and Joba Chamberlain, with Ian Kennedy in reserve. But Yankees senior vice president Hank Steinbrenner said Sunday his preference was to make the deal for Santana, which would give New York a stronger ace as it competes to regain the AL East title from the World Series champion Boston Red Sox.Still, Steinbrenner said he wasn’t going to wait until past Monday for the Twins to decide.Boston also is competing for Santana. The Red Sox are thought to have offered a package that would include pitcher Jon Lester or center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury but not both. Center fielder Coco Crisp also could be part of a trade.”I’m not going to be played against the Red Sox. That’s not something I’ll do. That’s not something the Yankees should ever do, and that’s I think what they’re trying to do now,” Steinbrenner said. “So if they want the best offer that has been offered to them, then they need to make up their minds.”Steinbrenner wouldn’t set a specific time Monday for pulling out.”We’ll see how it goes, but this is not an act. It’s not a bluff. It’s just reality,” he said. “Because as much as I want Santana, and you can make that clear – for his sake, to know that I do want him – but the fact is that I’m not going to play the game. We’ve made them the best offer. And at this point, it’s not going to get any better. So they can decide. At this point, it’s up to them. I don’t think they want to lose us in this thing, obviously. Nobody wants to lose the Yankees in a negotiation.”
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