Pettitte Calls “A-Fraud” A Fraud

Lefty says he never heard anyone call A-Rod names

If, as Joe Torre's new book contends, Yankee teammates were calling third basemen Alex Rodriguez "A-Fraud" behind his back, Andy Pettitte didn't hear it.

"I have never one time heard of the term 'A-Fraud' until I saw that rolling on the TV, I guess this morning or whenever they started reporting it," said Pettitte, who rejoined the Yankees for the 2007 season.

"If it did go on, it went on before I was there."

Considering the frequency with which the nickname appeared on New York's back pages, it strains the bounds of credibility that Pettitte had never even heard the term before, but that was his story during the press conference announcing his coming to terms with the Yankees for the 2009 season.

Pettitte's new deal calls for him to be paid $5.5 with another $6 million in incentives available. He had originally been seeking a $10 million deal.

General Manager, for his part, thinks the Yankees should rally around Rodriguez following the book in which Torre portrayed A-Rod as a divisive figure in the New York clubhouse.

"I think we've gone through so much of the Alex stuff that, you know, if anything, maybe this brings people closer together," Cashman said Monday during a conference call to announce Andy Pettitte was returning to the team in 2009.

"There's always going to be some controversy that surrounds this club," Cashman said. "The best way to try to deal with it is, I guess, rally around each other the best you can if there's real feelings there."

"The Yankee Years," by Torre and Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, is scheduled for publication Feb. 3. In it Torre says "Alex monopolized all the attention" and that "he needs people to make a fuss over him."

"We never really had anybody who craved the attention. I think when Alex came over, he certainly changed the feel of the club," Torre said.

New York hasn't been to the World Series since Rodriguez put on pinstripes ahead of the 2004 season.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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