Brian Cashman believes Andy Pettitte will be back

Andy Pettitte pitches during a game against the

Andy Pettitte pitches during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first game of a double header at Yankee Stadium. (Sept. 19, 2012) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Brian Cashman recently received good news from one veteran pitcher he wanted back in 2013, but, as of Monday afternoon, he had not heard anything from the second.

But when he does hear from Andy Pettitte, the Yankees' general manager said he believes the answer will be similar to Mariano Rivera's. Said Cashman: "I believe he wants to pitch."

He said he has not talked to the 40-year-old lefthander since a couple of days after the Yankees' season ended. In that conversation, Pettitte said he would give Cashman an answer "soon," using the same word Rivera did in a conversation with Cashman around the start of the World Series.

When Pettitte met with reporters after the Yankees' loss in Game 4 of the ALCS, he said he hoped to make a decision "within a month."

Cashman's approach to the offseason? "I proceed as if he's coming back."

Pettitte announcing just that would significantly ease Cashman's offseason burden, already a heavy one. There are holes across the roster.

If Pettitte, 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA in a season in which he missed nearly three months because of a fractured left ankle, comes back and Hiroki Kuroda also re-signs, the Yankees will have a solid triumvirate at the top of their rotation (beginning with CC Sabathia, of course).

Kuroda has not made up his mind whether he wants to pitch another season in the United States or go back to his native Japan, but all indications are that if he chooses the States, the Yankees are his preference. If Pettitte decides to keep pitching, the Yankees unquestionably will be his preference, too.

"I came back because I felt like I had some competition left in me and wanted to help this organization win another championship,'' he said after the ALCS. "I don't think anything is going to dictate my decision other than getting home and really knowing in my heart what the right thing to do is for me and my family.''

What Cashman doesn't plan to do in the coming weeks is "hound" the pitcher for a decision.

"He's worth waiting for," he said. "I'll give him the time he needs."

Notes & quotes: The Yankees claimed catcher Eli Whiteside, 33, off waivers from the Giants. Whiteside appeared in 12 big-league games this season -- going 1-for-11 -- and played 60 games with Triple-A Fresno . . . The Yankees are collecting donated items at Gate 2 of the Stadium, which will be staffed 24/7, through the end of the week. Individuals are encouraged to bring nonperishable food and household items, a complete list of which can be found by going to Yankees.com and selecting "official releases" in the News drop-down menu.

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