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Cashman believes Pettitte 'wants to play'

11/08/2012 12:18 PM ET
By Jon Lane

Yankees teammates and fans are hoping Andy Pettitte gives it one more go in 2013.(AP)
One burning Yankees offseason question was answered last week when closer Mariano Rivera informed the team he will be back for the 2013 campaign. One just as hot involves another member of the remaining “Core Four,” and that’s whether or not Andy Pettitte decides to extend his second career and pitch for the Yankees next season.

Pettitte, who ended his one-year retirement during Spring Training, continues to mull his immediate future and stated he’ll make a decision sooner rather than later. Speaking with reporters at this week’s general manager meetings, Yankees GM Brian Cashman shared details of a conversation that didn’t reveal answers, but he’s holding on to hope that the veteran left-hander will help anchor the rotation for at least one more season.

“I talked to Andy a few days after we got eliminated,” Cashman said. “In that conversation, he was going to take his family away, his son was playing in a tournament. He just said he’s going to take some time, talk to his family.

“It wasn’t going to take long. I didn’t ask how long ‘long’ was, but he’ll call me. I’m not going to push him. He’ll let me know when he’s made a final decision about whatever he’s choosing to do. I hope he plays. I believe that it’s in his blood that he wants to play. I believe that, but it doesn’t guarantee anything. But I think he wants to play, and I’m hoping he’ll call and tell me that.”

CC Sabathia was at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday to accept donations from fans to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy. He’s exchanged text messages with Pettitte, mixing in conversations about football before asking him, “Have you decided yet?”

“For my own selfish reasons, I want Andy to come back,” Sabathia said. “He’s somebody to talk to. He helps me out a lot, being a lefty, pitching in this league for a long time, so hopefully he does.”

Despite being away a year from the game, Pettitte pitched very effectively before and after suffering a broken fibula. In 12 starts, Pettitte went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 75.1 innings pitched. Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told Sirius XM last week he believes Pettitte will “most likely” return and is considering limiting Pettitte, 40, to below 30 starts to keep him fresh. The love of the game and a competitive fire that never faded convinced Pettitte to pitch again. Shortly after the Yankees were eliminated by the Tigers in the ALDS, Pettitte left the door open for another possible return, but not with conviction.

“I wish I knew,” Pettitte said. “I wish I had a set date or something like that. I know I want to make it as quick as I can. I would like to know. Hopefully, I can come to a conclusion in a month or so.”

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNYC

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