Yanks Say Goodbye to Giambi, Pavano

Each get buyouts; Pettitte Says in report he wants back in

The New York Yankees declined their 2009 options on first baseman Jason Giambi and pitcher Carl Pavano, making the pair eligible for free agency.

"Given the circumstances and the money involved, I don't think they were surprises to anybody," general manager Brian Cashman said Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte was quoted as saying he would like to return to New York next season. Pettitte had said late in the season that likely would be his decision.

"That's what I would like to do, obviously," Pettitte told Houston television station KRIV. "Hopefully, we can see if something happens."

Giambi will receive a $5 million buyout rather than a $22 million salary next season, completing his $120 million, seven-year contract. Pavano gets a $1.95 million buyout instead of a $13 million salary, finishing his $39.95 million deal.

The 2000 AL MVP with Oakland, Giambi hit 209 homers during his time with the Yankees. Slowed by injuries and in the center of controversy during baseball's performance-enhancing drug investigation, Giambi failed to win any World Series titles during his stint in New York.

Pavano was one of the biggest free-agent busts, spending most of the past four years on the disabled list. He made only 26 starts during the contract, going 9-8 with a 5.00 ERA.

Cashman wouldn't rule out signing Giambi at a lower price. He also said he wouldn't eliminate the possibility of keeping Pavano -- which seems remote.

"I'm going to keep all my options open," Cashman said. "I'm not closing the door on anything and anyone."

In a sign that Giambi might want to return to the Athletics, Oakland announced Tuesday that Bob Alejo will become its director of strength and conditioning. Alejo was Oakland's strength and conditioning coach from 1993-2001 and followed Giambi to the Yankees, working for Giambi personally and for the team during some years.

"A very high-energy guy with a young team," A's general manager Billy Beane said. "We thought it was a good combination."

Pettitte was 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA this year -- his highest ERA since 1999. The 36-year-old left-hander, who returned to the Yankees before the 2007 season, was 2-7 with a 6.23 ERA in his final 11 starts, and he missed his last turn because of a sore pitching shoulder,

"I've had it checked out. The doctors told me that everything looks good. I just need some rest," Pettitte said. "If there was any chance of surgery or anything like that, it would have made it extremely simple and say I was going to be done."

If he does return, he likely would have to take a cut from his $16 million salary this season.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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