Andy Pettitte Announces Retirement At Friday Morning Press Conference

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Andy Pettitte Announces Retirement At Yankee Stadium Press Conference

Officially stating what we already knew to be true, on Friday morning Andy Pettitte announced his retirement at a press conference in Yankee Stadium.

Pettitte has been working out for a number of weeks and said that his body and arm feel terrific. Health, it seems, had absolutely nothing to do with his decision. Rather, what it came down to was that his heart just isn't in it anymore, and he doesn't feel like he's up for the grind of another long season.

Interestingly, contrary to a previous report, Pettitte said that, when Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies instead of the Yankees, he felt "a tremendous obligation" to return.

“That’s when I started working out. I felt like I owed it to the organization. I felt like they wanted me before, but now they needed me. But this organization will continue to move forward, and I’m sure they will be great this year. But yes, I felt a tremendous amount of pressure.”

Ultimately, the feeling of responsibility wasn't enough to push Pettitte to a comeback, and while he'll surely be rooting the Yankees on this summer, he'll be doing so from his home, rather than the dugout.

Leaving the door open just a little, Pettitte did say you can "never say never" about the chance that he returns in 2012. From everything else he said, though, he gave off a feeling of permanence. He's absolutely not going to pitch in 2011, and he's not planning to pitch at any point after that. Barring some miracle turnaround, Andy Pettitte's days as a big leaguer have officially come to a close.

(For a discussion on whether or not Andy Pettitte belongs in the Hall of Fame, check out Rob Neyer's companion piece here.)

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Andy Pettitte's Decision To Retire May Have Been Influenced By Cliff Lee

Earlier Thursday, news broke that Andy Pettitte has decided to retire after 16 years in Major League Baseball with the Yankees and Astros. Pettitte, one imagines, has a number of reasons for making this decision, but Jon Heyman notes one of high interest:

Pettitte told people early this winter hed pitch if yanks got lee but wouldn't if lee went else.

This isn't one of those things we'll probably ever be able to confirm, but if it's true, then Lee's decision to sign with the Phillies hurts New York even worse. And it would make some sense; not only would it be a privilege for Pettitte to pitch alongside the game's best left-hander, but Lee also would've given the Yankees a better shot at the World Series, and high championship odds might've been enough to entice Pettitte to return.

But, no. Pettitte's off, now, having personally informed Hal Steinbrenner of his decision. The Yankees are saying that they're not currently panicked over the state of their rotation, but that could change an awful lot over the coming two months if a few arms out of the Nova/Mitre/Colon/Garcia pool don't stand out. No matter which two guys end up winning the final two rotation slots, one figures they won't have much in the way of job security should an upgrade become available on the market.

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Andy Pettitte To Announce Retirement Friday In New York

In ending what turned out to be by far the offseason's longest saga, veteran lefty Andy Pettitte is set to officially announce his retirement from baseball at a Friday press conference. The press conference is scheduled for 10:30am EST.

The news was first broken by Michael Kay, and soon thereafter it was confirmed by Ken Rosenthal and Jon Heyman. Pettitte has informed the Yankees of his decision, and he's currently en route to New York in advance of his announcement.

All winter, there were questions of whether or not Pettitte would return for a 17th season. He was only ever a possibility for the Yankees, and recently there had been rumblings that he was keeping himself in playing shape, causing people to believe he was preparing for a comeback. In the end, though, he's opted to retire, and while he'll give his official reasons on Friday, one figures he wants to spend more time with his family, and feels like he's already given a lot to the game.

For the 38-year-old Pettitte, by hanging up his spikes, he's reportedly leaving a $12 million, one-year contract on the table. His career numbers are impressive - 479 starts, 3055.1 innings, a 3.88 ERA, and a 240-138 record. He also managed to throw an additional 263 innings in the playoffs, with a 3.83 ERA and an all-time-best 19 wins. He ranks 55th all-time in wins and 48th all-time in strikeouts, and while his stats aren't eye-popping, he'll be remembered for his durability, and for the role he played with five different World Series champion Yankees teams. Pettitte started 13 games in the World Series in all, making him one of the most experienced postseason pitchers in baseball history.

And for the Yankees, they now move ahead with the same questions in the starting rotation as they've been fearing all along. Behind CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes will be the unpredictable A.J. Burnett, and behind him will be a four-way competition for two slots between Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre, Bartolo Colon, and Freddy Garcia. Colon and Garcia would've been appealing once, but age has taken a toll on each of their arms, to the point where both recently wound up signing minor league contracts. The Yankees could end up with a pair of dependable arms out of this group, but it isn't hard to imagine the team becoming active in the trade market very early in the season.

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