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Pettitte unretires, rejoins Yanks in minor-league deal

TAMPA — Andy Pettitte went with his heart and headed back to the hill.

A year after the star left-hander said he didn't have the desire to keep pitching, Pettitte ended his retirement and announced Friday that he was returning to the Yankees.

Three months shy of his 40th birthday, Pettitte signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. If his comeback is successful and he's added to the major-league roster, he would get a $2.5 million, one-year contract.

"My desire to work is back," Pettitte said on a conference call. "The commitment level wasn't there last year. I don't know if it was because I had a year off, just my desire to work was back."

GM Brian Cashman said there are no incentives in the deal and Pettitte, who is expected in camp Tuesday, will only be a starter. Pettitte has pitched in the majors for 16 seasons, 13 with the Yankees.

Cashman believes Pettitte will not be ready to break camp with the team when spring training ends. Pettitte says it's possible he could be ready for game action in two or three weeks.

"We'll go this route and see where it takes us," Cashman said. "Does it make us better and give us deeper and stronger choices? Yes."

Pettitte last played in 2010, when he went 11-3 and was an All-Star. He is 240-138 lifetime with the Yankees and Houston.

Pettitte sat out last season, but was with the Yankees in camp this spring as an instructor. He threw batting practice several times and also had a private bullpen session for team brass.

Cashman said he offered Pettitte a deal in December.

"The reason I couldn't commit to the Yankees earlier was because I needed to go through (the workout) process," Pettitte said. "During my bullpen work right now, I feel it all coming back."

Jeter Sits: SS Derek Jeter will be out until Tuesday because of a stiff left calf, but he declared it "not that big of an issue." Jeter, 37, spent time on the DL last year with a right calf injury.

Short hops: P Freddy Garcia has a bruised right hand and is expected to miss his next scheduled start, a minor-league game Monday. … 3B Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer in a 4-3, 10-inning victory over the Nationals. Opening day starter CC Sabathia was touched for three runs and six hits over three innings.

Phillies: Howard delay

BRADENTON — The timetable for 1B Ryan Howard to return from an Achilles injury has been pushed back to late May or early June, CBSSports.com reported.

Initially, the team hoped Howard would be ready by late April or early May, but an infection developed recently and required another procedure.

So Howard will remain in a walking boot for another week.

Manager Charlie Manuel has Ty Wigginton, John Mayberry and 41-year-old Jim Thome working at the position.

Lee pleased: Despite giving up a pair of homers in a 3-2 loss to the Pirates in only his third spring start, LHP Cliff Lee said he's ready for the season.

Lee threw about 60 pitches but said he could've thrown 100. He allowed three runs on five hits and a walk in 4 2/3 innings.

"I'm right where I need to be," he said. "It's just a matter of getting to where I'm locating more consistently."

Short hops: LHP Dontrelle Willis, 30, who was competing for a bullpen spot, was released.

Jays: Romero sharp

DUNEDIN — LHP Ricky Romero, the Jays' opening day starter, pitched four hitless innings and struck out four, and OF Travis Snider hit his fourth homer in a 5-0 win over the Rays.

In nine innings this spring, Romero has yet to allow a run and has given up only two hits.

Snider, competing with Eric Thames for the job in left, hit a 1-and-2 pitch off Jhonny Nunez for his team-leading 14th RBI.

"I think in his final at-bat against Nunez … who has above-average velocity, you saw him foul a ball off when he was behind and the very next pitch he was able to make an adjustment on the same type of pitch and hit the ball out of the ballpark," manager John Farrell said. "A year ago that might not have readily happened."

3B Brett Lawrie left early as a precaution because of tightness in his groin.

>>LOCAL CAMPS

Blue Jays

Where: Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Dunedin

Today: (ss) at Braves (ss), 1:05, Lake Buena Vista; at Phillies, 1:05, Clearwater

Info: bluejays.com/spring

training; (727) 733-0429

Phillies

Where: Bright House Field, 601 Old Coachman Road, Clearwater

Today: vs. Jays (ss), 1:05, Clearwater

Info: phillies.com/spring

training; (727) 467-4457

Yankees

Where: Steinbrenner Field, corner of Dale Mabry and Martin Luther King, Tampa

Today: vs. Astros, 1:05, Tampa, MLB Network

Info: yankees.com/spring

training; (813) 879-2244

Pettitte unretires, rejoins Yanks in minor-league deal 03/16/12 [Last modified: Saturday, March 17, 2012 12:55am]
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