Andy Pettitte and the Yankees reunited on Thursday after three years apart, and both sides seemed very pleased to be together again.
From the sound of it, Brian Cashman realized that, had the Yankees gone after Pettitte harder at the start of the free-agent process in November 2003, the lefty likely would have stayed in the Bronx. But they didn’t, so Pettitte was lured to his hometown, where he had three seasons in his own backyard.
This time, the Yanks weren’t going to make the same mistake, so they went hard after Pettitte, choosing to pursue him on a short-term basis rather than to go after a guy like Ted Lilly or Gil Meche for four or five years.
Pettitte sounded excited to be back with teammates such as Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, but more than that, he sounded thrilled to be pitching for Joe Torre once again. Pettitte credited Torre with much of his success, saying that the manager showed faith in him early in his career when many others had lost that faith.
This match seems perfect. Pettitte can come back and try to return the Yankees to the glory of the late-’90s, when he helped them win four World Series. The Yanks get a guy they can trust, a guy they can hand the ball to in October and know he won’t be intimidated by his surroundings.
Just listening to Pettitte on the conference call today, I forgot how engaging he can be and what a good guy he is to cover. I’m happy that he’s back. But not as happy as the Yankees.