TAMPA, Fla. -- When Andy Pettitte picked up the phone and heard Joe Torre's voice at the other end of the line, asking him to fill one of Team USA's roster spots in the World Baseball Classic, the lefty's emotions stirred.
For all of the big moments in Pettitte's career, he has never been able to play for his country, and the invitation was "a big deal" for him. But after discussions with the Yankees, Pettitte decided that he needed to turn Torre down and let the opportunity pass.
"I did want to play in it," Pettitte said. "Obviously after having some conversations with the Yankees, they're not too excited about me playing in it. They just decided against it. As badly as I wanted to play, and as excited as I was about playing, this needed to be the focus."
Pettitte said that he talked to general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi after hearing from Torre, and while both said they would support Pettitte's decision either way, it was clear to Pettitte that the Yankees would prefer he stayed in Spring Training with the Bombers.
"I guess it just came down to not really wanting to take quite that chance, of having something go wrong and then kicking yourself all year long or whatever," Pettitte said. "It was a tough decision. I'm not going to lie to you."
Teams cannot prevent players from participating in the Classic, except for those with pre-existing injury concerns, and the Yankees will have three participants this year -- second baseman Robinson Cano (Dominican Republic), catcher Francisco Cervelli (Italy) and first baseman Mark Teixeira (Team USA).
Pettitte missed nearly three months of last season with a fractured left ankle, and he said that the possibility of suffering an injury in the Classic was one of the dangers in his mind.
"The biggest thing was, man, if this goes bad, if something did happen, I've got to sit there and listen to you [reporters] all year long going, 'Why'd this guy pitch in the WBC?'" Pettitte said.
"So a lot of it was, if something happened, I want to be there for the organization. I want to be there for the team this year. If something goes wrong, I want it to go wrong when I'm playing for this club."
Rivera plans to continue shagging fly balls
TAMPA, Fla. -- No one ever wants to see anything like what the Yankees witnessed last May 3 in Kansas City, when Mariano Rivera lay writhing in pain on the warning track, his season cut short by a right knee injury.
But Rivera said that the mishap won't change his pregame routine of shagging fly balls in the outfield, and the Yankees have no plans to tell their 43-year-old closer to do anything differently in the future.
"Only in Kansas City, I joked with him," manager Joe Girardi said. "That's part of who he is. That's part of his game that has made him great. It's his time to relax, have fun and prepare for the day, so I don't want to take that away from him."
Rivera said that he will have to be careful when he returns to the outfield before games, but added that he's always cautious on the field.
"I've been doing this for so many years," Rivera said. "I've been doing it every day since I signed as a professional player. That's what I want to do. To take that away from me, I wouldn't be myself. I will do it, but I have to watch what I do."
Pettitte unsure what his future holds beyond 2013
TAMPA, Fla. -- Mariano Rivera says that he has reached a decision about his plans following this season, but Andy Pettitte learned his lesson by retiring too soon the first time and won't make the same mistake again.
Unlike his teammate Rivera, who strongly hinted at retirement while meeting with the media on Wednesday, Pettitte said that he isn't ready to definitively say what his future holds beyond 2013.
"Well, I can tell you right now as I sit right here, I hope this is it, you know what I'm saying?" Pettitte said. "But having gone through this and done this, I'm not going to shut it down again unless I know for a fact that I'm done with this."
Pettitte sat out for the 2011 season and came out of retirement last spring, making 12 starts with the Yankees and going 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA.
The left-hander said that he still feels the same tugs toward home from his family, but he also has the same desire to work out for a full season and wants to make sure his pitching has been fully exhausted before hanging up his spikes again.
"I don't want to think that this is going to be it or that this is the end," Pettitte said. "I think whenever it is, it'll be an offseason and I'll just know. There may be an injury or something that tells me, 'You can't come back, you can't do it anymore.'
"If that's the case, that's the way it will end. But for right now, I'm trying to keep my mind moving forward and thinking that I can do this. The Yankees are paying me a lot of money. I've got a big responsibility here and I want to uphold that responsibility."