8:28 PM: Cashman tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that "he just used a poor choice of words" in describing Pettitte's situation. (Twitter link) Cashman says he meant to say that Pettitte has "chosen not to pitch" rather than "chosen not to start," though this doesn't necessarily mean that Pettitte has officially retired. In another Kepner tweet, Cashman says he hasn't spoken to Pettitte about a Clemens-esque midseason return.
8:13 PM: Andy Pettitte has informed the Yankees that if he does return for the 2011 season, he won't be ready by Opening Day, reports Stefan Bondy and Nathaniel Vinton of the New York Daily News. Brian Cashman said Pettitte told him to "don't count on me" but the GM noted that if Pettitte wanted to pitch later in the season, the door would be open for a return.
"I don't think he's determined if he's officially finished or not, but he's chosen at this stage at least not to start in 2011," Cashman said. "If that ever changes he'll call us. We're not going to hound him or bother him."
ESPN's Buster Olney pointed out last month that Pettitte would already be behind on his offseason preparations if he chose to return, so it's possible that Pettitte may still come back and is building in extra time to get ready for his 17th Major League season.
Pettitte could take a page from his friend Roger Clemens' book — the Rocket didn't begin his 2006 and 2007 seasons, with the Astros and Yankees respectively, until June of those years. Clemens was able to secure $22MM from Houston and a pro-rated $4.7MM per month deal from New York, and while Pettitte wouldn't get that kind of money from the Yankees, he could command more than the rumored $12-$13MM if the Yankees found themselves desperate for pitching by May.