Nolan Ryan denies wooing Andy Pettitte
Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan has disputed reports that he talked with pitcher Andy Pettitte about joining the team as a free agent this offseason.
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Ryan told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram late Monday night that Pettitte made a phone call to him after the Rangers defeated the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, but only to wish him luck in the World Series and to talk baseball.
"I asked him if he thought he was going to play in 2011 or retire," Ryan told the Star-Telegram. "He said if he played it would be with the Yankees because he wanted to retire with the Yankees. It wasn't like I was asking him if he wanted to come play for us."
The New York Daily News, citing a source, had reported earlier Monday that Ryan had reached out to Pettitte in an effort to recruit him to join the Rangers.
True or not, the Yankees brass reacted angrily to the prospect of Pettitte talking to the Rangers, with a source telling ESPNNewYork.com that it is a "total [expletive] joke."
Pettitte, 38, hasn't definitively said he is returning to play next season. He previously has spoken about retiring, but never followed through. There is a strong belief that he will play again next year.
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"Pettitte's gonna pitch here or he's gonna pitch nowhere," said the New York source, who speculated that someone in the Rangers' organization might have put out the report "to push us back on Cliff Lee."
Before the 2009 season, Pettitte saw his salary slashed from a base of $16 million to just $5.5 million. He was able to eventually get into eight figures by reaching incentives; however, he didn't come close to $16 million. Last year, he made $11.5 million.
With A.J. Burnett unable to hold down the No. 2 spot in the Yankees' rotation, Pettitte has been the Yankees' second-most reliable starter.
Last season, Pettitte had one of the best first halves of his career, going 11-2 with a 2.70 ERA. He was an AL All-Star.
In the second half, Pettitte threw only 15 2/3 innings because of a groin injury.
Pettitte, who left the Yankees in 2004 to join the Houston Astros, is a native of Deer Park, Texas.
ESPNNewYork.com's Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand contributed to this report.