Injury-Shortened Season Leads Andy Pettitte to Come Back for at Least One More Year

November 29, 2012 – 6:00 am by Steven Cuce

Andy Pettitte is coming back to the Bronx for another season. This one appears to be his last. The left-hander agreed to a one-year contract for $12 million, plus incentive bonuses, for the upcoming season. Pettitte was a late addition to the Yankees’ roster last spring, but as usual he became one of the most reliable arms in the starting rotation heading into the postseason.

Pettitte posted a 2.87 ERA during the regular season last year and a 3.29 ERA in two playoffs starts.

Andy Pettitte joined 98.7 ESPN New York with The Michael Kay Show to discuss the decision behind coming back to the Yankees this season, playing this upcoming year as if it will be his last, his injury this year playing a factor in wanting to come back, not wanting to play anywhere else but in New York and speaking with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera.

Why did you decide to come back to the Yankees for another year?

“I feel like I can do it again and the desire is there. … I got home and, for the first month, was devoted to Josh and him trying to make his first major decision of his life, which was trying to figure out which college he was going to go to. And so we had a couple of tournaments we had to go to with him and then it was the recruiting stuff, and on the 16th of December he signed with Baylor. And then I start working out and start focusing on if this is something I want to do again and I feel like the desire is there. I want to work, and if you want to work and wanna do the work and your family is behind it, then I feel like in my heart it’s the thing I want to do, and I feel like, ‘Man you gotta do it again.’ The Yankees obviously wanted me. Brian Cashman talked to me immediately after the season was over and said, ‘Hey, I know you don’t know what you want to do, but as soon as you know, we want to get you locked up as soon as we can.’ That makes you feel great also.”

Will you go into this season as if it’s your last? Will you play it by ear?

“I would say I would have to play it by ear. I mean, at the end of the year I am going to be 41. You’re thinking, ‘OK, this is probably going to have to be it.’ I hate to say that because the next time I shut it down, it’s going to be for good and I just want to make sure of that. I’m really going into it having no idea what the future is going to hold. I think as the season goes on, things will try to dictate that to a certain degree, but I am just going to go into it just keeping it open-ended not knowing what is going to happen.”

If you had not gotten hurt would you come back this year?

“I am not sure. I just am not sure. I know that if I hadn’t gotten hurt I’d be in a completely different spot. I would have thrown close to 200 innings. I know how I would feel right now. I don’t think there would be anyway possible I would make this decision that quick if I would have had a full season. I just don’t know. I wish I could answer that question for you. I can tell you this: If I felt as completely exhausted as I was during this whole baseball thing with the family and we’d be done with it, I would probably say it might have been it, but I don’t know how that would have played out.”

If the Yankees didn’t want you back would you have extended your career somewhere else?

“I doubt it. Thank goodness I wasn’t at that point. At this point I don’t see how I could go … If I didn’t do it last year, then I probably wouldn’t have done it, so I don’t see how I would have been able to do that at all.”

Have you spoken with Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera? Is Mo coming back? Is Jeter ready for opening day?

“Yeah, I do think Mo is going to be back. I do. I know they are working through some stuff and Derek is doing good. He said he is feeling better and I know he thinks he is going to be ready, but I know that’s probably a little bit of a slower process than he expected, but he’s going to be ready to go. I know he is chomping at the bit to get back and get going and to be able to get the weight on that foot and be able to start getting into the shape that he needs to get in.”

Listen to Andy Pettitte on 98.7 ESPN New York here

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