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Pettitte lays down his arm, set to retire

The Core Four is now the Core Three.

The Core Four is now the Core Three.

After telling the Yankees last fall to forge ahead without him, Andy Pettitte will officially announce his retirement Friday morning at Yankee Stadium.

Pettitte’s last appearance was Game 3 of the American League Championship Series when he fell to Cliff Lee in an 8-2 loss. A year earlier, he won four postseason games, including three series clinchers as he, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera became five-time champions.

When the Yankees failed to lure Lee this offseason, they were hoping Pettitte, 38, would return for one more run. The dominant left-hander, though, seemed to hint at retirement frequently during 2010, when he lamented missing time with his family in Texas.

“Those off-days get hard, trying to fly home to see your family for a day, 24 hours,” Pettitte said after Game 6. “That’s a tough deal. The kids are getting to an age where I want to be home. But I also know how important what I do is. I'm a man and this is my job.

“This is all I’ve ever known as an adult. ... I want to make sure I fully exhaust myself of this and run it out.”

Pettitte’s career ended as an All-Star. Although he missed two months with a left groin injury, he finished 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts and then won Game 2 of the American League Division Series in Minnesota.

He leaves behind a thin rotation that could feature Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre or Bartolo Colon in the four spot for Joe Girardi.

Memories ...

What we’ll miss most about Andy Pettitte:

1
The stare
: Any Yankee fan has seen the look. It is the bill of the cap meeting his glove to cover a locked-in face. Pettitte’s unmatched focus made him a big-game pitcher.

2 The work ethic: Pettitte’s work ethic is among the best in the game. He was frequently seen jogging along the warning track in an empty stadium hours before first pitch. Perhaps he’s best remembered for taking to the track in a driving rainstorm the night before his start was pushed back in Game 6 of the 2009 ALCS.

3 The reliability: The Yankees always knew what they were getting from Pettitte — at least six innings of old-fashioned effort. Oh how they’ll miss that this season while witnessing A.J. Burnett’s antics.

4 The cutter: Mariano Rivera is best known for the cutter — a pitch he developed in 1997 — but Pettitte could be just as lethal with it. Along with his fastball, the cutter became a trademark of his repertoire.

5 The postseason: Big names such as Roger Clemens, David Cone, Mike Mussina and David Wells have started plenty of playoff games but nobody has more October wins than Pettitte. The guy is straight clutch.

 
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