Brian Cashman added a bit of clarity to the seemingly never ending drama regarding Andy Pettitte’s return to pinstripes. Reporters caught up with him at the owner’s meetings yesterday, and the NY Daily News has the report:
“I don’t think he’s determined if he’s officially finished or not, but he’s chosen at this stage at least not to start in 2011,” Cashman said. “If that ever changes he’ll call us. We’re not going to hound him or bother him.”
Cashman then clarified his comments to say that nothing had changed in the situation, and that the Yankees were still waiting for word from their veteran lefty.
Here’s the video of Cashman’s statements from ESPN.com, so you can view it for yourself. While there’s nothing final or definitive here, you get a good sense of how the Yankees are approaching this. From Brian’s standpoint, he’s not pitching until he tells the team he is. As we get further into January, the likelihood of Andy returning gets less and less with every passing day. Pitchers and Catchers report in roughly one month, and many Baseball players begin preparing for the following season after the holidays. We don’t know whether Andy has begun his off season program or not. He has a training facility located within his house, so it’s not like someone will catch him going back and forth to the local Gold’s Gym.
This report should come as no surprise, when Andy has decided to come back he has generally told the team sometime in early December, and a contract was quickly worked out and signed by mid December. Although it is worth noting he did go all the way to mid January once before, back in 2009 after finishing up the 2008 season being banged up with nagging injuries as he did this year. After the disappointing 08 season, Andy didn’t announce his return until mid January and an incentive laden 5.5 mil base salary contract was signed on January 26th of that year. That year, Brian Cashman had little payroll flexibility on the heels of the Burnett, Sabathia and Teixeira signings, which explained the low base. This year, Brian Cashman has made it clear the Yanks are ready and willing to pay Andy, they’re just waiting on word from him.
Some have speculated that the pending Roger Clemens trial is giving Andy second thoughts about coming back, but I don’t buy that. As public and high profile as that trial may be, it pales in comparison to the congressional hearings Andy testified at in Spring Training of 2008. I find it hard to believe Andy would blow off an entire season for a few annoying days of answering questions about his testimony. By all accounts, he told the truth to Congress and would simply make the same statements at a trial. Despite the drama and wall to wall media coverage, it’s really all old news before it even happens.
The Plan B should come as little surprise as well, again from the Daily News article:
“I’m actively out there,” Cashman said. “It’s a very thin market to be flying in right now. That’s why we may have to rely on our strong farm system a little bit sooner than we expected.”
Ivan Nova, Hector Noesi, David Phelps, Sergio Mitre and I’m sure a few MLB retreads like Freddy Garcia or Justin Duchscherer will enter camp and fight it out this spring for their chance to pitch in the 2011 Yankee rotation, with the Killer Bs knocking on the door as mid-season call ups. Let the best man TWO men win.
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