Done Deal: Pettitte to Sign With Houston

The Associated Press is reporting that Andy Pettitte and his 149-78 record with the Yankees are leaving New York after he agreed to a three year contract with the Houston Astros. A Houston news conference is scheduled for Thursday to announce Pettitte's return home to Texas.

The Astros dealt closer Billy Wagner to the Philadelphia Phillies last month in an effort to clear some payroll so they would the financial flexibility to make a strong push at the Yankees' lefthander. Pettitte chose to go home to Texas instead of staying put in New York for the rest of his career and making a push at Whitey Ford's 236 victories. In fact, the Yankees' offered the him $39 million for three years, which was about $3 million more than the Astros, but in the end Pettitte wanted to live closer to his home in Deer Park.

The Yankees' entire pitching staff is enduring a major makeover. Roger Clemens has retired. Pettitte has now bolted for Houston. They Yankees are currently left with a rotation that includes Mike Mussina, Jose Contreras, Javier Vazquez, and possibly David Wells. The Yankees also have Jon Leiber and Jeff Weaver.

Pettitte was 21-8 with a 4.02 ERA last season and has won at least 12 games every season since 1995. The 2001 ALCS MVP, Pettitte's career winning percentage of .656 is fifth among active pitchers.

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