Pettitte Will Not Retire

Whoa, how about this for news: Andy Pettitte will remain in pinstripes, at least for one more year. The 35-year-old left-hander has decided to put off retirement and return to pitch for the Yankees, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

This news is really surprising, as most indications were that Pettitte was going to retire. Pettitte had declined a $16 million option last month, saying he needed more time to think about whether to come back and pitch in 2008. Catcher Jorge Posada said last week that Pettitte was leaning toward retirement, but apparently he was wrong.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Pettitte began telling current teammates over the weekend that he was going to return. Pettitte’s agent, Randy Hendricks, then explained to GM Brian Cashman of Pettitte’s desire to come back.

“Players such as [Derek] Jeter and [Jorge] Posada told him how much they needed him back, as did Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi,” Hendricks told The Associated Press. “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.”

It looks like the Yankees will honour the $16 million contract despite the fact that Pettitte walked away from it about a month ago.

Pettitte, who went 15-9 with 4.05 ERA in the 2007 season, has a 201-113 career record with 3.83 lifetime ERA. The Yankees are more than optimistic in getting him back.

Anyway, this is interesting news because the Yankees are in the middle of a seesaw battle to acquire Johan Santana. You have to wonder whether their initial interest was due to uncertainty in knowing whether Pettitte would be back.

To make the press happy, there was statement from the front office regarding the battle with the Red Sox. Said Hank Steinbrenner, “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 what I think what they’re trying to do now. So if they want the best offer that has been offered to them, then they need to make up their minds.” Sure, maybe it’s not something the “Yankees should ever do,” but it’s something that appears to be happening right now. It’s unavoidable, and frankly, it’s just business.

However, with Pettitte’s expected return and a Santana decision looming, the Yankees would have otherwise had a staff of all right-handed starters for 2008: 19-game winner Chien-Ming Wang is set to return, rookie standout Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes (if he isn’t involved in the Santana trade), and Mike Mussina in the rotation. The Santana decision could put Ian Kennedy out of the rotation, so he might play for the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre come 2008.

Hank Steinbrenner has indicated that he is interested in Johan Santana but that the Twins have until the end of today to bite the bullet. Said Steinbrenner, “We’ll see how it goes, but this is not an act. It’s not a bluff. It’s just reality. 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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~ by mlb2007playoffs on December 3, 2007.

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