Rangers Deny Reaching Out to Andy Pettitte (Updated)

Update: According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com the Rangers are denying that they’ve contacted Pettitte about pitching for them.

Original Post: Via Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News:

According to a source, Rangers president Nolan Ryan recently reached out to [Andy Pettitte], who is now a free agent, to see if he could convince the veteran lefthander to pitch in his home state.

The 38-year-old Pettitte has made no secret of his desire to be near his family in Houston – he left the Bronx in 2004 to play with the Astros before returning to New York in 2007 – and he may also be unhappy with his current pay structure: He serves as the team’s second starter while being paid along the lines of the fourth.

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After earning $16 million in both 2007 and ’08, Pettitte was forced to take an incentive-laden $5.5 million contract in 2009, looking to prove that his alining shoulder was healthy. He nearly doubled his earnings with a good season, helping the Yankees win the World Series in 2009. The Yankees paid Pettitte $11.75 million last season to follow CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett in the rotation. But Pettitte assumed the role as the team’s No. 2 starter ahead of Burnett, who made $16.5 million, so Pettitte could be seeking a raise, something that could be helped by a flirtation with the Rangers.

Pettitte has already said it’s the Bronx or nothing in 2011 and even though Arlington is a lot closer to his home than New York it’s hard to see him going back on that. There is a certain comfort level with the organization and even though he could maybe go home during more off-days, the effort it would take to become comfortable with a new team seems like too much for Pettitte.

He hasn’t made a big deal about money since the struggle after 2008 and while he hasn’t said anything about it, ball players are always looking to squeeze every last dollar out of their teams. Pettitte did spend a decent amount of time on the DL in 2010 so the Yankees would be hesitant to increase his salary, but an offer from Texas could help him get a bit more money in 2011.

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