The Yankees are far apart in their negotiations with Pettitte,
who also is being courted by the Houston Astros. But they seem on
track to re-sign Wells.
His agent, Gregg Clifton, negotiated with Yankees general
manager Brian Cashman on Sunday night.
"We made a lot of progress in the last 24 hours and we're
optimistic David will have an opportunity to remain a Yankee,"
Clifton said. "If we're not able to finalize a deal, David will
have an opportunity to utilize free agency with the other 29
The 40-year-old left-hander left Game 5 of the World Series
after one inning because of the back injury, and had surgery
Tuesday to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. He has
angered the Yankees at times during his four seasons with New York.
But he also is a favorite of owner George Steinbrenner.
Wells went 15-7 with a 4.14 ERA last season, increasing his
career record to 200-128, then defeated Minnesota and Boston in his
first two postseason starts.
He lost 3-2 in the World Series opener against Arizona, then
came out of Game 5 because of the back injury.
New York declined a $6 million option on Wells, who earned $14
million during his two-year contract with the Yankees. He went 19-7
with a 3.75 ERA in 2002.
Wells was fined $100,000 by the team in March because of his
autobiography, which Cashman concluded "did tarnish the Yankee
image." He angered manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Mel
Stottlemyre when he stopped throwing between starts during the
second half of the season.
Wells was winless in seven starts from July 19 until Sept. 7,
when he beat Boston 3-1 and prevented the Red Sox from closing
within a half-game of New York in the AL East.
New York also offered arbitration to left-hander Gabe White and
backup catcher John Flaherty. The Yankees have agreed to a
$775,000, one-year contract with Flaherty but not announced it.
They are close to an agreement with White.