Andy Pettitte, a star pitcher who came out of retirement last year for a second stint with the New York Yankees, said on Friday he will call it quits for good after this season.
The 41-year-old US left-hander, who admitted in 2008 that he briefly used human growth hormones (HGH) in 2002 to help heal an injury, made his announcement 10 days before the end of the six-month Major League Baseball campaign.
Pettitte played on Yankees World Series championship teams in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009 and pitched in the best-of-seven final eight times, including a 2005 run with the Houston Astros.
Pettitte, whose 218 wins for the Yankees ranks third on the club’s all-time list and just 18 shy of Whitey Ford’s all-time team record, is the all-time major league playoff leader in wins with 19, starts with 44 and innings pitched with 276-2/3.
“I’m announcing my retirement prior to the conclusion of our season because I want all of our fans to know now — while I’m still wearing this uniform — how grateful I am for their support throughout my career,” Pettitte said. “I want to have the opportunity to tip my cap to them during these remaining days and thank them for making my time here with the Yankees so special. I’ve reached the point where I know that I’ve left everything I have out there on that field. The time is right. I’ve exhausted myself, mentally and physically, and that’s exactly how I want to leave this game.”
Pettitte, the Yankees’ all-time strikeout king, joins Panamanian relief ace Mariano Rivera in planning to depart the Yankees after the season.
While the Yankees are still in the hunt for a wild-card playofff berth, Pettitte’s last start at fabled Yankee Stadium could be against San Francisco today — the same day the team will pay tribute to Rivera, the all-time saves leader.
“One of the things I struggled with in making this announcement now was doing anything to take away from Mariano’s day on Sunday,” Pettitte said. “It is his day. He means so much to me, and has meant so much to my career that I would just hate to somehow take the attention away from him.”
Pettitte’s final start could come in his home state of Texas during the Yankees’ season-ending three-game stand at Houston on Sept. 27 to Sept. 29, the final days of the regular season.
The only clubs Pettitte has played for in his 18-year career are the Yankees and Houston, compiling an overall record of 255-152 with a 3.86 earned-run average.