Mo will try to convince Pettitte to return

File photo of Mariano Rivera.

File photo of Mariano Rivera. (Credit: Getty Images)

Mariano Rivera has plans to call an old friend.

"I might try to reach him soon," Rivera said Thursday of Andy Pettitte, who continues to deliberate about pitching in 2011.

"I want to hear what he's doing, what he wants to do," Rivera said. "If he wants to continue playing, then I think we will have a good shot."

Rivera spoke late Thursday morning at Yankee Stadium, where he was participating in the club's 17th annual food drive.

The 41-year-old closer, who recently signed a two-year, $30-million deal, said if Pettitte indicates he is planning to retire, he might try to talk him out of it.

"Yeah, I might," Rivera said with a smile. "He will have the last word, but I might. Yes. Andy to me is one of the best lefties there is out there, so I would take him anytime."

Rivera said he was "surprised" that Cliff Lee spurned the Yankees in favor of the Phillies, having assumed that his team would land the lefty ace "like you were surprised and everybody else." But he said losing the sweepstakes didn't make getting Pettitte back any more or less important.

"Andy has always been important, always, whether we have Lee or don't have Lee," Rivera said. "Andy, to me, I would have signed him first, if it was me."

Manager Joe Girardi, speaking at the same event, said he talked to Pettitte "probably three or four days ago." But he, like just about everyone else, doesn't know which way he is leaning.

Before Rivera re-signed with the Yankees, there were plenty of eyebrows raised when a report out of Boston said the Red Sox had offered Rivera a contract. But a source with knowledge of those talks from the Boston perspective told Newsday in early December that the story was overblown, saying the Red Sox were more curious than anything about the state of the Yankees' negotiations but assumed all along that Rivera would return.

In a Dec. 4 appearance at Last Licks in Rye Brook, N.Y., Rivera told Newsday and another publication that he never seriously thought he'd end up in Boston and was happy the Yankees "did the right thing" with his contract as soon as they did.

On Thursday, Rivera said the discussions were "real" but "nothing that we sat and talked [in depth].''

He added: "I also made sure that I thanked them because they took me into consideration."

And, as he said Dec. 4, at no point did he think he'd be pitching for the Red Sox.

"I didn't think the Yankees would allow that to happen," Rivera said. "I just had to make sure I had a job, and the Yankees did that."

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