Sources say that the Yankees will know whether or not Andy Pettitte will return for the 2011 season in the next few days. Speculation surrounding Pettitte began to mount as soon as the Bombers were eliminated by the Rangers in the ALCS. Speculation intensified when Cliff Lee decided to take his talents down I-95 to Citizen’s Bank Park. Internally, the Yankees are assuming that Pettitte will not return next season and are preparing to explore internal and external options.

In only 21 starts last season, Pettitte went 11-3, posting a 3.28 ERA. A groin injury limited Pettitte during the second half of the season, further increasing speculation that 2010 would be Pettitte’s final season. Even if Pettitte returns for the 2011 season, the Yankees can only expect 20-25 starts from the crafty lefty.

If 2010 was indeed Andy’s last season, he definitely has a case for Hall of Fame enshrinement. Pettitte posted a 240-138 record while carrying a 3.88 career ERA. Pettite is the all-time post-season wins leader (19) and third on the strikeouts list (173). Pettitte is a five-time World Champion. Interestingly enough, all players who have posted 100 more victories than losses have made the Hall of Fame. There is that 500-pound gorilla in the room named HGH, but that’s a different animal for a different day.

Until then, let’s see if Andy will come back to chase one more World Championship.