Yanks hope for Andy Pettitte's return

NEW YORK -- Not only are the Yankees hoping that Andy Pettitte returns, they are dreaming about it.

"I go to sleep every night hoping that Andy Pettitte makes his decision to come back and pitch another year," Yankees team president Randy Levine said Wednesday on 1050 ESPN New York. "That is his decision. He has not made a decision to retire. He has not made a decision to come back.

"He is with his family. Hopefully, over the holidays he will come to peace with whatever his decision is and knowing Andy, he will give it a lot of thought. He has a big heart. There is no bigger Yankee than him. Let's just hope he wakes up one day in the next couple of weeks and says, 'I want to pitch for the New York Yankees.' "

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman repeatedly has said he believes Pettitte is leaning toward retirement. Pettitte has made no recent public comments. There have been conflicting reports about which way he is leaning.

Pettite, 38, made the All-Star team last season, but then struggled with a variety of injuries that forced him to miss two months in the second half of the season.

If Pettitte were to come back, he would be the No. 2 starter behind ace CC Sabathia. The Yankees believe Phil Hughes can build on his 18-game, All-Star season and that A.J. Burnett can rebound from his 10-15 record and 5.26 ERA.

Youngster Ivan Nova and journeyman Sergio Mitre would be the leading candidates for the Nos. 4 and 5 spots if Pettitte doesn't come back.

Levine said even though the Yankees haven't won the hot stove league, having failed to sign top target Cliff Lee, it doesn't mean that October won't
work out for them.

"Cliff Lee is one of the best pitchers there is in major league baseball," Levine said. "He made a decision for himself and his family that he wanted to be in Philadelphia, and that is what free agency is all about and we respect it.

"That is a lot of money we saved by not signing Cliff Lee. We have one of the best minor league systems in all of baseball. At this point in time, we are getting a lot of calls from a lot of people, agents and other teams and we are going to be patient about it. We have until spring training, until the end of March when the season opens to do the right thing, be careful and weigh our options. I've been around a long time, we have sometimes won the hot stove league in December and November and we haven't done too well in October. So hopefully, October is the main time that you have to perform and I'm confident we will have a championship team."

Andrew Marchand covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com.