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Yanks should woo Pettitte back

Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte delivers to the plate

Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte delivers to the plate during the first inning of an ALDS game against the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis. (Oct. 7, 2010) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

It is difficult to figure the passive approach the Yankees have taken toward Andy Pettitte. Barring an unforeseen deal, there is no proven starting pitcher available to bolster what will be a questionable rotation. Jeremy Bonderman, the latest rumor, does not register much excitement.

After the prolonged and failed effort put into obtaining free agent Cliff Lee — who apparently never wanted to come to New York — one would think the Yankees would turn to one of its own with some renewed vigor.

Yet, there is no report of Brian Cashman or his minions boarding a plane to Texas to tell Pettitte how much the team needs him. Cashman has largely left Pettitte alone to make the decision with, apparently, no knock your eyes out offer to consider.

The upside with Pettitte is huge — if he can stay healthy — the downside merely the same as it would be with any other aging veteran. Pettitte was 11-3 last season and, despite a long stretch on the disabled list, looked good in the playoffs.

In fact, if Pettitte (240-138) pitches for two more years with double-digit victory totals he moves into Hall of Fame territory. That notion and a nice paycheck might sway him back to the Bronx. He can get out at age 40 and still have the rest of his life with his family. How many of us wouldn’t sign up for that right now?

The Yankee rotation cannot rely on what come after CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes. Who can count on A.J. Burnett regaining any kind of winning form? After that, it is Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre. Nova, maybe. Mitre, not likely.

The projected rotation will not get the Yankees to the wild card, much less overtake the Red Sox for the division. Looking within, Joba Chamberlain is not said to be under consideration as a starter, which is also baffling given his marginal success as a reliever.

Pettitte obviously needs some coaxing and who better to do it than the man who can make the right offer. There is no need for a cat and mouse game with Pettitte, with Cashman acting as if he has a Plan B ready to go if Pettitte does not return. Starting pitching can be addressed in July when one pitcher is needed. The Yankees are staring at spring training needing at least two more starters.

This is no time for the Yankees to take a "You tell us if you need us" stance with Pettitte.

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