Rumors of Andy Pettitte's Return Are Starting to Swirl
That seemed like a sign that we might soon be hearing something different after a long spell of nothing but negative reports about his chances of pitching during the 2011 season. After all, there isn't much reason to get yourself into game shape if the only game you plan to play is gin rummy.
So it isn't much of a surprise that Wednesday has brought a pair of reports that link Pettitte to a return. Jon Heyman of SI.com said he's spoken to some baseball people who have told him they expect to see the lefty starting games in the Bronx this summer, while Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports' Hardball Talk quotes an unnamed source as saying there's a "very strong possibility" that Pettitte returns for one more year.
That's pretty thin, especially when Calacaterra says real journalism "frightens and confuses" him, but the fact that people are so consumed with this decision says a lot about the state of the Yankees rotation. Brian Cashman has made it quite clear that he thinks the team is a starter shy of competing for the World Series, and Pettitte appears to be the best chance he has of landing one before the team reports to Tampa.
Whatever the final conclusion, the extended dithering from Pettitte has been quite surprising. Unlike his fellow Texan Roger Clemens, he's never been one to make a spectacle out of himself and the appeal of both decisions has been obvious since the start of the offseason.
On the one hand, he'd be paid very well to work once every five days for a good team. He showed in 2010 that he can still pitch when healthy and he was resilient enough to come back from injury and pitch well in the postseason. Whatever he accomplishes this season will go toward making a Hall of Fame case that doesn't look all that bad alongside some recent inductees and top vote getters.
The other side's appeal is pretty compelling as well. He's done just about everything a man could hope to do over the course of his career while missing a great many of the things that happen while his kids grow up. The allure of catching whatever's left of that experience is obvious to any parent and it exerts a healthy pull on the decision-making process.