Courtesy of Yankees ‘n More

It’s not unusual for New York Yankees great Andy Pettitte to lean towards retirement at this time of year, so his recent statements to that effect might not mean he’s done. This year seems a little different, though.

“Right now I can tell you that my heart’s right here in Deer Park (Texas),” Pettitte told, the website for a Houston-based television station.

That is exactly the type of thing we’ve heard from Pettitte in previous offseasons; not surprising. What the veteran left-hander went on to say, however, has a new ring to it.

“If something happens and I play one more year, that would be it,” Pettitte said.

Pettitte has been going year-to-year for quite some time now, but never before has he issued any sort of “that would be it” deadline.

He has now.

There is a belief among many who follow professional sports—including several who have played—that once you set that type of ultimatum in your mind, you are as good as retired already.

In addition to Pettitte’s own comments, there is also the attitude of general manager Brian Cashman. In previous offseasons, Cashman has always seemed confident that the Yankees would, eventually, re-sign the guy who is arguably the greatest pitcher in Yankees history.

Not this year.

This year, we have yet to hear Cashman even hint that he believes a Pettitte return is possible.

This could all change in a second.

If January rolls around and Pettitte starts feeling the fever to compete again, he’ll probably be back. But as of now, it seems everybody who is in a position to know, including the lefty himself, is preparing themselves for an Andy Pettitte-less 2011.

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