Watching Andy Pettitte officially announce his retirement today — and explain the thinking that went into his decision — we couldn’t help but think of Brian Cashman’s line from a couple weeks ago, when he said that he’d told Pettitte not to “Brett Favre” the Yankees. Here, again, is the context around that quote: “I told him don’t ‘Brett Favre’ us. You got to be all in and fully dedicated to play.” And so when Pettitte explained that while he’d been working out and his body felt fine but that he lacked the “hunger” to pitch again, it’s safe to assume that Cashman, who could certainly use another starting pitcher, appreciated his decision.
Pettitte even admitted that he’d felt something of an obligation to return after Cliff Lee signed with Philadelphia, and that he started working out as a result. He’d told his wife two weeks ago that he thought he would pitch again. But, as he explained, his heart wasn’t in it. (He said, for the record, that Roger Clemens’s upcoming perjury trial, at which he’s expected to testify, didn’t factor into his decision.)
Then there’s this: The Post’s Brian Costello — who, as Pettitte pointed out today, had shown up at Pettitte’s Deer Park, Texas, doorstep earlier in the off-season to ask the pajama-clad lefty if he was going to return for another season — asked if Pettitte was 100 percent sure he wouldn’t pitch again. Pettitte’s answer — which he repeated again during a YES interview after the formal press conference had ended — was that he believes he’s done, and that he was 100 percent certain that he wouldn’t pitch in 2011. But beyond that, he said he couldn’t be sure how he’d feel a few months from now. At one point, he used the phrase “You can never say never.”
And so it’s now official: Andy Pettitte’s sixteen-year career is over. Probably. Almost certainly.