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NEW YORK (AP) -- Andy Pettitte decided to pitch at home, agreeing Thursday to a three-year contract with the Houston Astros and bolt the New York Yankees.


Pettitte made the decision after weighing a new offer from the Yankees on Wednesday night, a baseball source said on the condition of anonymity.




The Yankees' offer averaged about $13 million a year.


Houston planned to announce the deal at a news conference Thursday. Pettitte's decision to sign with Houston was first reported by Newsday on its website.


Pettitte, 31, is 149-78 with the Yankees, who signed him in 1991. If he had stayed in New York, he would have had the chance to surpass Whitey Ford's 236 victories and become the winningest left-hander in Yankees history.


With the Astros, he joins a team trying to rebuild and win at the same time. Houston dealt closer Billy Wagner to Philadelphia last month in a cost-cutting move. Pettitte would combine with Wade Miller and Roy Oswalt to form a powerful front three in the rotation.


While Houston has had many strong teams since joining the National League for the 1962 season, the Astros have never made it to the World Series.


Without Pettitte, the Yankees are left with a rotation that includes Mike Mussina, Jose Contreras and Javier Vazquez, acquired from Montreal last week. Candidates for the back end of the rotation include Jeff Weaver, Jon Leiber and David Wells, who is close to agreement on a minor league contract.


New York also could delve into the free-agent market, where Kevin Millwood is available. Or the Yankees could attempt to trade for a starter -- New York held some talks with Los Angeles about a deal for Kevin Brown, but the Dodgers wanted a major hitter in return.


So much for your stanks soriano

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The Astros are not exactly chopped liver.



Their rotation is headed by....Pettitte, Oswalt, Miller


Their bullpen is backed by....Lidge, Dotel (expect them to find a lefty somewhere)


They have Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent and Lance Berkman as the heart of their order.


Morgan Ensberg is an up and coming hitter.



Its still going to be the same 3 teams at the top of the NL Central.

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