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Andy Pettitte To Texas Rangers? Don't Laugh

Are the Texas Rangers making a bid to steal veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte away from the New York Yankees. The Rangers say they are not, but various other reports say they are.

Could you blame the Rangers if they are, indeed, trying to entice Pettitte into pitching in Texas in 2011? It would be the perfect piece of gamesmanship from Rangers president Nolan Ryan, not to mention the fact that Pettitte is still a very good pitcher who can help contending teams. He went 11-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 21 starts in 2009.

Pettitte, of course, lives in Texas. At 39, he annually goes through a decision each winter about whether to continue pitching in New York, which he has said is the only place he would play, or to retire to stay home with his family. The Rangers could offer him the opportunity to do both, and having experienced that during three seasons with the Houston Astros it might be tempting for Pettitte.

Even if Ryan is not serious about making an offer, and Pettitte isn't serious about accepting one from the Rangers, this is great business. It makes the Yankees sweat a little, it allows Pettitte to squeeze a few million more dollars from the Yankees and -- of course -- it is a little tit-for-tat as the Yankees prepare to make a big offer for Texas' free-agent left-hander Cliff Lee.

John Harper of the Daily News warns that the Yankees should not take the possibility of losing Pettitte to the Rangers lightly.

" ... it would be a mistake for the Yankees to dismiss such a notion. Not when Pettitte agonizes annually over the decision to continue playing or retire to a life as a full-time husband and father at home in the Houston area.

The pull of pitching at home in Houston led him to leave the Yankees seven years ago, and while Arlington is a plane ride away from Houston, it's close enough that Pettitte would no doubt be able to get home a lot more during the season.

For that matter, Pettitte last season talked often about how much it bothered him that he couldn't be home to see his oldest son pitch in high school. The idea of being able to shoot home for such occasions surely would have great appeal.

That is probably good advice.