Andy Pettitte is retiring after a 16- year career in which he won more postseason games than any pitcher in Major League Baseball history and helped the New York Yankees to five World Series championships.
Pettitte, a 38-year-old left-hander, will officially announce his retirement tomorrow at a news conference at Yankee Stadium, the team said in a news release.
The retirement decision was reported earlier today by ESPN.
Pettitte leaves with a 240-138 record and 3.88 earned run average over 16 seasons, all but three of them in New York. A two-time 20-game winner, he often was at his best in the playoffs, with a record six series-clinching victories among 19 wins in the postseason.
“A person and player the caliber of Andy Pettitte does not come around often, and he has earned the right to be considered among the greats that have worn the pinstripes,” Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner and General Partner Hank Steinbrenner said in a statement.
Yankees officials including General Manager Brian Cashman had said for months that there appeared to be little likelihood of Pettitte returning for 2011. His departure leaves the team with three proven starters -- CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett.
Pettitte joined the Yankees in 1995, the same year as catcher Jorge Posada, shortstop Derek Jeter and pitcher Mariano Rivera. Those four players, with 33 All-Star appearances among them, formed the nucleus of a team that won World Series titles in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009. Pettitte signed with the Houston Astros in 2004, returning to the Yankees before the 2007 season.
Jeter and Rivera recently signed new contracts with the Yankees, while Posada is entering the final year of his deal with New York.
Pettitte made a major league record 42 postseason starts, 38 with the Yankees, and was 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA. He was selected as the 2001 American League Championship Series Most Valuable Player after going 2-0 with a 2.54 ERA in two games against the Seattle Mariners.
In 2009, he became the second starting pitcher in history to win series-clinching games in all three rounds of the playoffs. Derek Lowe accomplished the feat in 2004 with the Boston Red Sox.
Pettitte was one of several Yankees named in the 2007 Mitchell Report, the culmination of former Senator George Mitchell’s 21-month investigation into the use of performance- enhancing drugs in baseball. The report mentioned that Pettitte received human growth hormone injections in 2002 while recovering from an elbow injury.
Pettitte verified the claims two days after the report was released, saying that he used HGH to return to the team as quickly as possible, and that he had never otherwise used growth hormone or steroids. In 2008, Pettitte acknowledged before a U.S. congressional committee that he used HGH during a second span in 2004.
Last season, Pettitte was 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA, his lowest since returning to the Yankees. His 203 wins with the franchise are third most in club history, behind Whitey Ford (236) and Red Ruffing (231), both members of baseball’s Hall of Fame.
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