Pettitte will retire at the end of the season
Veteran left-hander has spent 15 of his 18 big league seasons with Yankees
By Bryan Hoch / 9/20/2013 12:17 P.M. ET
NEW YORK -- There has already been one instance when Andy Pettitte's voice carried into a Yankee Stadium microphone to call it a career. He found himself back on the mound after a year at home, having realized that he had not fully exhausted himself of pitching.
Pettitte acknowledged that it had been somewhat embarrassing to reverse that decision and vowed to never go through those paces again unless he was certain. He has now decided that this is the proper time, as the 41-year-old left-hander announced his retirement for the second time on Friday.
In a statement released by the Yankees, Pettitte said: "I'm announcing my retirement prior to the conclusion of our season because I want all of our fans to know now -- while I'm still wearing this uniform -- how grateful I am for their support throughout my career. I want to have the opportunity to tip my cap to them during these remaining days and thank them for making my time here with the Yankees so special.
"I've reached the point where I know that I've left everything I have out there on that field. The time is right. I've exhausted myself, mentally and physically, and that's exactly how I want to leave this game."
Pettitte is expected to speak in more detail about his decision at a 3:30 p.m. news conference this afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
His next start is scheduled to come on Sunday against the Giants at Yankee Stadium. That will coincide with the club's scheduled celebration for all-time saves leader Mariano Rivera, who is also retiring at the conclusion of the season.
"One of the things I struggled with in making this announcement now was doing anything to take away from Mariano's day on Sunday. It is his day," Pettitte said. "He means so much to me, and has meant so much to my career that I would just hate to somehow take the attention away from him."
But the careers of Pettitte and Rivera are unmistakably intertwined, both comprising a major part of the dynasty that saw the Yankees win four World Series championships in five years beginning in 1996.
Pettitte and Rivera have also served as a dynamic duo on their own, with Rivera securing 74 of Pettitte's 218 victories as a Yankee -- the most win-save combinations between any starter and reliever in Major League history.
Baseball's all-time leader in postseason victories (19), starts (44) and innings pitched (276 2/3), Pettitte is 10-10 with a 3.93 ERA in 28 starts this year.
He has been one of the club's most reliable starters of late, going 3-1 with a 2.07 ERA in his last seven starts dating back to Aug. 16, but the Yankees have been unable to mount a charge in their pursuit of an American League Wild Card slot.
New York dropped two of three games to the Blue Jays this week in Toronto, a huge blow considering that manager Joe Girardi had said the Yankees would probably need to win 10 of their next 12 games entering that series in order to qualify for the postseason.
Pettitte most recently started on Tuesday against Toronto, allowing a run on six hits over 6 2/3 innings as he took a tough-luck defeat in a 2-0 loss to the Blue Jays. It is possible that Pettitte's final Major League start could come in Houston against the Astros, where the Yankees conclude the regular season Sept. 27-29 -- a fitting conclusion for the Deer Park, Texas, resident.
The Yankees and Astros are the only two clubs for which Pettitte has played, going 255-152 with a 3.86 ERA during his 18-year career. Pettitte played in Houston from 2004-06, going 37-26 with a 3.38 ERA in 84 games.
A five-time World Series winner who pitched in eight Fall Classics, his 218 victories as a Yankee rank third in franchise history to Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231). In July, Pettitte surpassed Ford (1,957) for the Yankees' all-time franchise lead in strikeouts.
As has been well documented, this is the second retirement announcement for Pettitte, who held a February 2011 news conference at Yankee Stadium to say that he felt his "heart is not where it needs to be" in order to prepare for the rigors of a full season.
Pettitte reappeared in a Yankees uniform in 2012, first as a special guest instructor for Spring Training and then by inking a below-market, incentive-laden $2.5 million contract, later acknowledging that he had resumed working out because he felt "the desire to do this again."
There was little question about Pettitte's return in 2013, as he agreed quickly to a one-year, $12 million deal in November, saying at the time that "it was pretty easy for me to realize that this was something I wanted to try and do again" -- and, apparently, for the final time.
The departures of Pettitte and Rivera will leave Derek Jeter as the last remaining member of the Yankees' "Core Four." Though Jeter has said he expects to play in 2014 and holds a $9.5 million player option to do so, the captain's situation is also less than certain after missing most of this season due to injuries.