Yankees LHP Andy Pettitte to retire after season

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Rivera has saved 72 of Pettitte’s 255 career wins, the most for any tandem in major league history.

“It’s like brothers. We came up in this organization at the same time. We’ve been through good times and bad times,” Rivera said. “Now we go out together, too.”

Asked if he had any regrets, Pettitte mentioned human growth hormone. He has admitted using the banned substance years ago, saying he did it in an effort to recover faster from an injury.

He said he would never want kids to think he tried to cheat.

“I know my heart. I’ve never tried to cheat this game. Never tried to cheat anything in my life,” Pettitte said. “That’s the truth.”

Pettitte holds MLB records for postseason wins (19) and starts (44), but it would take quite a surge by the Yankees for him to get an opportunity to add to those marks. They began the day 3 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay and Texas for the second AL wild card, with three other teams in between.

A three-time All-Star, Pettitte has helped New York to seven AL pennants and five World Series championships during 15 seasons in pinstripes. He was the MVP of the 2001 AL championship series and is the franchise leader in career strikeouts with 2,009.

He joined longtime buddies Rivera, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada to make up the “Core Four” that has led the Yankees to more than a decade and a half of sustained success.

“We’ve had a great run here,” Pettitte said. “I just feel like my time here is done.”

Jeter, limited by injuries to just 17 games this season, will be the only one left next year.

“I’ve known about this for a while, but I just haven’t thought about it,” he said. “You’re not going to see that again, I don’t think.”

Pettitte said he probably wouldn’t have made a comeback last year if general manager Brian Cashman hadn’t called to gauge his interest. The original plan was to return for one season, but a broken ankle that sidelined Pettitte for almost three months changed his mind.

He knew coming into 2013 that this would be it, and nothing that’s happened since has made him vacillate _ including a back injury that wasn’t easy to shake.

Pettitte is 10-10 with a 3.93 ERA in 28 starts. After a rough patch, he has pitched particularly well down the stretch with New York desperately chasing a playoff berth.

“Vintage Andy Pettitte. Crunch time, he’s always there,” manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s just who Andy Pettitte is. When the stakes get higher, he gets better.”

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