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New York Yankee Notes: Swisher Says Pettitte Has Earned Retirement

A few New York Yankee notes for you this morning before I head out to deal with the latest foot of snow that fell overnight in upstate New York.

Yankee outfielder Nick Swisher says Andy Pettitte has earned the right to retire.

"I can't say enough great things about that guy," Swisher said before the 31st annual Thurman Munson Awards dinner in midtown. "To play that long and continue to put those numbers up year in and year out. "We'd love to have him back. But if he decided to ride off into the sunset, he's definitely earned that."

Swisher is right, of course. Yet, the Yankees still have to hope that Pettitte gets the itch to pitch at some point in 2011 and rejoins the rotation midseason.

Bustler Olney had a really scary thought recently (no jokes, I like Olney). What if Twitter had been around a few years ago and George Steinbrenner had an account?

FanGraphs breaks down Freddy Garcia and is not very optimistic that he can help the Yankees.

Garcia has proven crafty enough to be above replacement level into his late 30′s. However, his changeup is his last pitch with positive value, and unless he can reverse some troubling trends, it is unlikely that the Yankees will get much value out of Garcia.

Maybe The Chief has a few more tricks up his sleeve. Maybe he can rediscover the slider that brought him some value in 2009, or develop a better curveball. If he does not, Garcia’s career slide will continue, and the odds are that he will produce some replacement-level innings in 2010. That is, when he is not on the disabled list.

In all honesty, Garcia just has to be better than Sergio Mitre or Bartolo Colon at this point, and I would be shocked if he can't do that. He might not even need to hold down a rotation spot all season. GM Brian Cashman will be working the phones for a trade, and the Yankees will be eyeing the kids on the farm to see who is ready. Oh, and there is the possible return of that Pettitte.

New pitching coach Larry Rothschild is optimistic about a bounce-back season from A.J. Burnett.

"He's healthy, the stuff is still there, and his mind and heart are in the right place,'' Rothschild said. "He wants to do well, and I believe I can help him to do that.''

Rothschild said the memory of Burnett's miserable 2010 season --10-15, 5.26 ERA and two entire months, June and August, in which he did not win a single game while losing 10 times -- may be impetus enough for him to rebound with a good 2011. "Nobody wants to have a year like he had,'' Rothschild said. "Maybe that alone will be the boost he needs to get better.''

This, of course, is what you would expect Rothschild to say. For the Yankees to have a successful 2011 season, though, Rothschild needs to be right.