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Monday, January 26, 2009
Pettitte returns to Yankees


The pitcher who won the final game at the old Yankee Stadium will be in pinstripes for the opening of the new park, as Andy Pettitte has agreed to a one-year deal to return to the Bronx.

Although Pettitte won 14 games last season, he struggled in the second half, going 4-7 with a 5.35 ERA after the All-Star break. In fact, an elbow injury forced him to miss his last couple starts after he earned the victory in that final game at Yankee Stadium.

Pettitte's K rate and WHIP last season both were better than they were in 2007, but at this point you pretty much know what you'll get from the veteran lefty: a lot of innings, an ERA in the 4.00s, a not-so-great WHIP, decent strikeout numbers and a bunch of wins with the Yankees' lineup supporting him. The team definitely will take that type of performance at the back end of the rotation. The same should go for a fantasy rotation: Pettitte was a late-round pick in drafts last season, and nothing should really change this season. Sure, he doesn't have much upside, but he produces somewhat reliably.

Meanwhile, the return of Pettitte could bring up more questions about Joba Chamberlain's role. The Yankees still plan to make Chamberlain part of the starting rotation behind CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Chien-Ming Wang and Pettitte. Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy would then be the odd men out, at least when spring training opens. But having guys like Chamberlain, Hughes and Kennedy back there might give the team some flexibility. Although Chamberlain probably is more valuable for fantasy purposes as a starter, he might be more useful in real baseball as the eighth-inning guy.

James Quintong is an editor for ESPN.com Fantasy.