Ageing Yankees zero in on elder free agents

Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:30pm EST
 

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The ageing New York Yankees, struggling to inject youth into their roster, appear poised to sign two of their evergreen core members for one more go-round in a drive for a sixth World Series ring since 1996.

Left-handed starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, 40, and all-time Major League Baseball saves leader Mariano Rivera, who turns 43 on Thursday, are reportedly on the verge of signing deals for one last campaign.

Those pitchers could well be effective in 2013.

Pettitte returned from a one-year retirement last season to go 5-4 with an impressive 2.87 earned run average in a campaign limited to 12 starts due to a broken ankle in mid-season.

Rivera, whose 2012 season ended in May after he tore ligaments in his right knee while shagging fly balls before a game, has been as dependable as any reliever to play the game.

But with 39-year-old Ichiro Suzuki and 40-year-old Raul Ibanez also on New York's radar for a possible return season in 2013, the Yankees could be fighting Father Time as well as the competition on the diamond.

Pettitte, Rivera and 38-year-old shortstop Derek Jeter have each earned five World Series rings with the Yankees, but have added only the 2009 title ring to their collection in the last dozen years.

The Yankees began last season as the oldest team in the majors with the average age of their Opening Day roster approaching 32 years old and they could be getting grayer.   Continued...

 
New York Yankees starting pitcher Andy Pettitte (R) is relieved by manager Joe Girardi as catcher Russell Martin (L) and third baseman Alex Rodriguez look on during the seventh inning of Game 1 of their MLB ALCS playoff baseball series in New York, October 13, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar