On Friday, we learned that Andy Pettitte would come out of retirement to join the 2012 Yankees. The Yankees and Pettitte agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million minor league deal. By definition, a minor league deal is essentially a risk-less ‘tryout’. However, the Yankees and Pettitte fully envision him being able to contribute by May or June. Granted, Pettitte, who has been throwing and working out, may decide that he just can’t do it anymore and stay retired. However, given Andy’s competitive nature, he wouldn’t waste anyone’s time if he didn’t think he could still play.

While having another arm is a great ‘problem’ to have, the Yankees are left with a bunch of arms and only a limited number of rotation spots. To start the year, Sabathia, Nova, and Kuroda will be in the rotation. By all accounts, Michael Pineda and Phil Hughes will be in there, too. Freddy Garcia is the odd man out and will likely take over long-relief duties. However, if all of these pitchers are performing well when Pettitte is ready, what will his role be?

Andy doesn’t have the makeup to be a reliever and wouldn’t come out of retirement to be one, either. Andy is a craftsman with the baseball. Runners will get on base, he’ll walk some hitters, he’ll pick some off, etc. Andy isn’t going to come out of the bullpen throwing 97+ MPH. He is and always will be a starting pitcher.

Emotional attachments aside, Andy has to prove to the Yankees that he still has it. When he retired after the 2010 season, he left on his own accord. He wasn’t Posada’ed out of the team. Coming back from a one-year layoff, the now 40-year-old Pettitte must prove he belongs in the Yankee rotation.

And by all accounts, I hope he is the Andy that we all know and love.