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Pettitte to return in 2013?

Lefty is non-committal but wouldn't count it out
10/08/2012 1:42 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
Whenever the Yankees season ends, one of the first things to be looked at heading into next season will be whether or not Andy Pettitte will be back once again.

Michael Kay asked Pettitte that question in a press conference prior to Game 1 of the ALDS on Sunday night, and while the lefty said he’s not sure initially, later answers hinted that 2012 isn’t the end.

“If we were able to go all the way, we’d have a month or so left, but I don’t think about that,” Pettitte said Sunday. “I think it’s just going to be a situation where I just need to go home and see if I want to do this again. It’s great when my family’s here in the summer, but it’s not great when they’re in Texas and not in New York.”

Distance aside, however, Pettitte later said that he will also have to factor in his competitive fire – which hasn’t been extinguished in the slightest.

“I know one thing: I know the competition and the desire to compete is still there, and I don’t feel like I kind of got that itch out from the 70 innings or so that I threw this year,” he said. “I was expecting to do a little bit more work than that. But we’ll see. We’ll see how this goes, and then I’ll factor everything probably in.”

In his previous 16 seasons, Pettitte had made 20 or more starts 15 times – but thanks to a late start in 2012 and an injury that cost him almost half the season, he made just 12 for the Yankees this year.

“It was definitely not ideal; going through the season, I figured that when I told the Yankees I was going to come back that we’d work something out and I’d have been there from the get-go, so to start the season a month or so late was awkward,” the lefty said. “It was a thrill to come back, and I was doing some of the things I thought I could do, so to get hurt and miss what I thought would be four-to-six weeks and ended up being almost three months was extremely disappointing.”

On Monday night, Pettitte will pitch Game 2 of the ALDS in Baltimore, an outing that mathematically could still end up being his final start. It was nearly 16 years ago – October 13, 1996 to be exact – that he won Game 5 of the ALCS at Camden Yards to send the Yankees to their first World Series since 1981, but it will be his first start against the Orioles in 2012 and his first postseason start since a duel against then-Texas ace Cliff Lee in the 2010 ALCS.

If tonight ends up being the finale, it’s almost fitting that it comes against a team manager by Buck Showalter – who handed Pettitte the ball for his first career postseason start in Game 2 of the 1995 ALDS versus Seattle.

“The heart that he has — you know, the heart and the makeup and the want to and all that stuff – is great,” Showalter said Sunday. “This time of year talent plays. He is talented, and that’s why he’s still capable of giving his team a chance to win.”

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