Cashman: Pettitte leaning toward retirement

Cashman: Pettitte leaning toward retirement

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Andy Pettitte has not informed the Yankees of a final decision, but when he packed up his belongings after the season, the veteran left-hander believed he might be doing it for the last time.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Monday that Pettitte told him 2010 may have been his last season wearing a Major League uniform. Pettitte said after the American League Championship Series that he did not know for sure what his future would hold.

"He told me personally he was leaning toward retirement," Cashman said. "He's not officially retired. I talked to his agent [Randy Hendricks] about maybe a week to 10 days ago, and that position hadn't changed. That's where it's at as of right now."

The Yankees have said they would like to have Pettitte back in 2011, but as in past years, they will not force his hand. Pettitte, 38, has been wrestling with the balance between his pitching duties and his family life at home in Deer Park, Texas.

So far, baseball has won out, though Pettitte has been increasingly frustrated with the amount of time he has had to spend on airplanes commuting between New York and Texas on off-days. Cashman said Pettitte's statement this year was more blunt than his parting words in past seasons.

"That's the first time he's ever done that, told me that directly," Cashman said. "He's a very honest communicator and I just think that as every year goes by, that tug [of retirement] is a lot harder."

Though he missed most of the last two months of the season with a groin injury, Pettitte enjoyed an All-Star campaign and was among the Yankees' priorities as they moved into the winter months, along with re-signing Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera. If Pettitte is to retire, the importance of acquiring a top-flight pitcher like free agent Cliff Lee becomes magnified.

"I move forward like I've done the last few winters," Cashman said. "This is what Andy does. He goes home and deeply thinks about what's the next best step for him and his family. He'll come to some sort of decision on that."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.