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Andy Pettitte, Yankees agree to one-year, $12 million deal

Andy Pettitte pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays

Andy Pettitte pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. (June 5, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Andy Pettitte characterized his decision to pitch in 2013 as an "easy" one.

Once he informed the Yankees of that, he said the dominoes fell quickly.

Pettitte officially signed a one-year, $12-million deal Wednesday -- with incentives -- and said the agreement actually was hammered out before Thanksgiving.

"This was very easy," said the 40-year-old Pettitte, who made $2.5 million last season. "The Yankees made it easy on me. Literally the negotiations, it seemed like, were for a day or so, that was it."

Pettitte said when he left for his Texas home after the ALCS loss, his sense was he would return. Conversations with his family reinforced that and, after guiding his son Josh through his college decision -- Josh, a righthander, committed to Baylor -- Pettitte went about working toward 2013.

"Once I started working out and I felt like I still had to the desire to put in the work, it was pretty easy for me to realize that this is something I wanted to try and do again," Pettitte said.

General manager Brian Cashman also played a significant role.

"As soon as the season was over I spoke with Cash and he said, 'As soon as we can, we want you back, as soon as you decide, we want you back,' " Pettitte said. "That's huge for a player. For Cash to reach out to me and tell me that . . . you feel like the organization feels pretty good about bringing you back and feels pretty good about what you've done. That was a huge part of me coming back also."

Pettitte went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA last season, one in which he missed almost three months with a fractured left ankle.

He retired after the 2010 season, a year he also spent time on the disabled list. Pettitte, however, said he doesn't see a reason he can't be a rotation anchor.

"I expect to be healthy, I expect to make my 34 starts or however many the Yankees want me to make and I think I can do that," Pettitte said. "If I didn't I wouldn't try to do this again. I want to be an effective pitcher for us and for me that's going out there and pitching my turn every fifth day and taking some of the pressure of guys that are in the rotation right now."

The front end of the Yankees' rotation appears set, with CC Sabathia to be followed by Hiroki Kuroda and Pettitte. Kuroda agreed to a one-year, $15-million deal last week and Mariano Rivera, who turns 43 Thursday, is expected to be signed by week's end.

With his pitching goals taken care of, Cashman can focus on other areas of need at next week's winter meetings.

Among the priorities is re-signing catcher Russell Martin, though there are other suitors, including the Rangers, Red Sox and Pirates, any of whom could outbid the Yankees, who are trying to trim payroll by 2014.

The Yankees still assume Nick Swisher will sign a multi-year, big-money deal elsewhere and are in the market for outfield help, as well as infield depth for insurance for their aging and injury-prone left side of the infield.

Regardless, Pettitte likes the team's core.

"If I didn't feel we had a chance," he said of winning the World Series, "I wouldn't do this."

New York Sports