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11/25/08 10:10 PM EST
Dodgers could be fit for Pettitte
Free-agent southpaw knows success under Torre
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- It was with Joe Torre as his manager in New York that Andy Pettitte emerged in 1996 as one of the Majors' premier pitchers, winning 21 games in his second season.
Could Torre and Pettitte be in line for a reunion on the opposite coast?
While there are no indications of any negotiations between Torre's Dodgers and Pettitte, who is a free agent, it is understandable that the two would have stayed in touch, as Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, quoting Major League sources, is reporting.
They did, after all, work together for nine years, producing four World Series championships and countless thrills for Yankees fans.
With the Yankees in hot pursuit of all the big names among starters in free agency -- including Derek Lowe, a Los Angeles stalwart the past four seasons -- there could be stranger developments than Pettitte dealing for manager Torre again, this time in Chavez Ravine.
Pettitte delivered his customary solid work in 2008 for the Yanks -- 33 starts, 204 innings, 14-14 record -- and he wants to return for a 15th season. With the Bombers' attention focused on the likes of CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Lowe, and with the Dodgers unlikely to bring Lowe back, Pettitte conceivably could be a fit for Los Angeles.
Along with Lowe, Brad Penny was allowed to become a free agent. That leaves Hiroki Kuroda, Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley as returning starters -- and Billingsley is recovering from a broken fibula in his left leg from a fall on ice at his home on Friday.
Billingsley is expected to be ready for Spring Training. The Dodgers are hoping veteran right-hander Jason Schmidt, expected to be the ace after arriving in 2007 as a free agent, will be functional this spring after pitching a total of six games in his two seasons with the club.
On another front, with Rafael Furcal surveying the free-agent landscape and apparently finding considerable interest in his services, the Dodgers remain unsettled at shortstop.
Pittsburgh is making veteran Jack Wilson available, but the price tag might be too high for a 32-year-old athlete coming off an injury-marred season. The Pirates are believed to be seeking Chin-lung Hu and several prospects in a deal for Wilson, who is owed $7.25 million this season with an $8.4 million option for 2010.
Wilson, a .269 hitter in eight Major League seasons, batted .272 in 87 games this season. Known for his quality defense, he has a .312 career on-base percentage and .375 slugging percentage.
While Furcal reportedly is sought by both Bay Area clubs, the A's and Giants, among others, experienced shortstops such as Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria and ex-Dodger Cesar Izturis are available in free agency.
Yet with highly regarded Hu and Ivan DeJesus Jr. in the system, the Dodgers don't appear interested in tying themselves to another shortstop for an extended period. They could turn to Angel Berroa, who did a solid job defensively in 84 games with the club this past season but batted only .230. He's a .260 career hitter in eight seasons in the Majors.