Yankees sign Pettitte out of retirement

Fri Mar 16, 2012 5:29pm EDT

Former New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte (R) shakes hands with New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada after throwing the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the MLB American League Division Series baseball playoffs between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium in New York, October 2, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Former New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte (R) shakes hands with New York Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada after throwing the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2 of the MLB American League Division Series baseball playoffs between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium in New York, October 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

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(Reuters) - A visit to the New York Yankees' spring training facility to spend time with former team mates convinced Andy Pettitte to come out of retirement and rejoin the team he won five World Series titles with.

Pettitte, 39, last pitched in the majors in 2010 with New York when he went 11-3 with a 3.28 earned run average to earn his third All-Star nod.

But a visit to New York's training camp in Florida, where Pettitte threw batting practice, triggered his desire to return and on Friday the Yankees said the broad-shouldered left-hander signed a one-year minor-league contract worth $2.5 million.

"'I missed it. I feel good. And after being around the guys, I want to play. I really want to play,'" Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, speaking on WFAN radio, said Pettitte told him. "If he's healthy, I think he can help us. I think he can help us significantly."

The left-hander was expected to arrive at spring training next week for a 10-day stint before getting assigned to a minor league team to continue his work.

Cashman said Pettitte would miss at least the first month of the 2012 Major League Baseball getting into pitching shape.

When Pettitte retired ahead of the 2011 season, he had compiled a career record of 240-138 and a 3.88 ERA over 16 MLB seasons spent with the Yankees and Houston Astros.

Presuming he can regain his old form, the addition of Pettitte would shake-up of the team's rotation.

"I'm happy for him if that's what he wants to do," Yankees captain Derek Jeter told WFAN. "Andy's going to compete, that's what he enjoys doing. He expects a lot out of himself. His expectation levels are as high as anyone.

"There is going to be a lot of people excited about having him back."

C.C. Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova lead New York's five-man pitching rotation with newly-acquired Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia competing to join them.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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