Wed, Jan 28, 2009 - Page 8 News List

Andy Pettitte accepts pay cut to return to Yankees

POWERFUL LINE-UP The 36-year-old looks likely to be the Yankees’ fourth starter next season behind, among others, Taiwanese star Wang Chien-ming

AP AND BLOOMBERG , NEW YORK

Andy Pettitte accepted a one-year contract with the New York Yankees on Monday that may pay him 65 percent less than the US$16 million he earned last year.

“Bottom line is, I wanted to play for the New York Yankees,” Pettitte, 36, said on a conference call on Monday. “If you want to play for one team, you are going to have to make sacrifices.”

While the team didn’t disclose financial terms, AP reported the deal was worth US$5.5 million and includes performance incentives that could push the total value to US$12 million. Pettitte said he had 嘆no doubt that he could have made more money if he signed with another club.

Late last year, New York had offered a deal that would have guaranteed Pettitte US$10 million, down from the US$16 million he earned last year.

He joins a starting rotation that already includes Wang Chien-ming, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Joba Chamberlain. The deal raised the Yankees’ projected opening-day payroll to US$196.8 million for 17 players with agreements.

Pettitte pitched for the Yankees from 1995 to 2003, helping them win four World Series titles, then spent three seasons with his hometown Houston Astros. He returned to the Yankees in 2007 and was 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA last season, his highest ERA since 1999.

Pitching with a sore shoulder, he was 2-7 with a 6.23 ERA in his final 11 starts and missed his last turn of the season.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said he flew to Texas to meet with Pettitte on Dec. 11, a day after he reached an agreement with Sabathia on a seven-year, US$161 million deal.

Cashman said he first brought up the idea of an incentive-based deal that Pettitte said he wouldn’t object to.

“Andy said every step of the way that he wanted to be a Yankee,” Cashman said. “I remember him telling me at one point in this process, ‘Cash, if you guys want me back, we will find a way to get this thing done,’ He honored that.”

Cashman said having Pettitte’s leadership in the clubhouse was an important factor in bringing him back.

Pettitte kept track of the Yankees’ additions this offseason and said the prospect of playing with Sabathia, Burnett and Teixeira heightened his desire to return.

“Most people think I was getting upset or bitter,” he said. “To me it was exciting. It made me more anxious to get a deal done.?”

Pettitte will probably be the Yankees’ fourth starter behind Sabathia, Burnett and Wang. Joba Chamberlain is slotted as the team’s fifth starter.

“There was no other team ever brought into the equation,” Pettitte said.

“My mind never changed. I wanted to come back to the Yankees, and in my mind, I was going to be back,” he said.

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