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Wells is Yankees' man for Game 5
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10/22/2003  8:04 PM ET 
Wells is Yankees' man for Game 5
Veteran in familiar spot despite uncertain future
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David Wells has won 34 games in the two years since his return to the Yankees. (Rich Pilling/MLB Photos)
Penny hopes to
stay on hot streak

MIAMI -- Much has been made about Roger Clemens making his last career start in Game 4 of the World Series against the Florida Marlins on Wednesday night. But David Wells could certainly be making his last start as a Yankee against Florida right-hander Brad Penny in Thursday night's Game 5.

Wells wants to pitch another season, hopefully with the Yankees, who hold the option on his contract for next year -- $6 million if they exercise it, $1 million to buy it out.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has consistently said that the team won't address that issue until after the season.

"It could be my last game for the Yankees, but I hope it's not," the 40-year-old left-hander said before the game on Wednesday night. "It's out of my hands. It's up to (principal owner) George Steinbrenner if they want to exercise my option. If they don't then I move on. It's been great. It's been fun. It's a great organization. A great bunch of guys."

    David Wells   /   P
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 235
Bats/Throws: L/L
Nickname: Boomer

More info:
Stats
Splits
Red Sox site

Wells, in his second New York tour, has given the Yankees every reason to keep him. He's won 34 games in the two years since his return as a free agent, including a 15-7 record and 4.14 ERA this year in 30 regular-season starts. He defeated the Baltimore Orioles on Sept. 28, the final day of the season at Yankee Stadium, to record his 200th career victory.

Wells is 10-3 lifetime in the postseason, giving the Yankees peak performances when they really count. He went 2-0 with a 1.76 ERA in the first two rounds of the playoffs, defeating Minnesota and Boston.

But he lost Game 1 of the World Series, 3-2, to the Marlins at Yankee Stadium. 

"In Game 1 I thought I pitched well enough to win but we were just flat," Wells said. "It didn't work out. There's nobody to blame. If you're going to blame anybody, blame me. I gave up the three runs.

"But redemption is good and that's something I'd like to have tomorrow."

Wells couldn't shade his despair when the Yankees traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays in the early 1999 deal that netted them Clemens. Wells helped the Yankees win the 1998 World Series by beating the Padres in Game 1 of New York's sweep. And during that 18-4 season, he pitched a perfect game in the Bronx against the Twins.


"When you're comfortable in a clubhouse and you have a great group of guys around you, that's the tough part about leaving a ballclub, leaving behind the friendships that you made."
-- David Wells

It took him three years to make it back, choosing to return to New York instead of signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks before the 2002 season when he ultimately went 19-7 for the Yankees.

Wells said the separation still haunts him. It could haunt him if he's separated from the Yankees again.

"That's the one thing in baseball you miss," he said. "When you're comfortable in a clubhouse and you have a great group of guys around you, that's the tough part about leaving a ballclub, leaving behind the friendships that you made."

Clemens will be gone after the World Series and Wells said he probably won't be that far behind him. Clemens is retiring because he said he no longer wants to put in the same physical fitness work that keeps him on top of his game.

Wells, who's battled a bad back all season, said his conditioning or lack thereof has never been a problem. He isn't worrying about spending life after baseball as a couch potato.

"I've been blessed with a rubber arm," he said. "I'll leave the working out and conditioning to those guys forever. They can write a book and do videos. They can make money on that, on how to last 20 years in the big leagues by conditioning. I'll write the one, 'How Not to Work Out.' Then we'll weigh both of them."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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