Andy Pettitte declines option with Yankees

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Andy Pettitte declined his $16 million option with the New York Yankees, still uncertain whether he wants to pitch next season.

"I have spoken with Brian Cashman, who has reiterated what Hank Steinbrenner said about the Yankees wanting to give Andy all the time he needs to decide about next season," Pettitte's agent, Randy Hendricks, said Monday in an e-mail to The Associated Press. "Accordingly, we are declining to exercise the option for 2008 and Andy will declare free agency in order to free up a roster spot for the Yankees."

The 35-year-old left-hander went 15-9 with a 4.05 ERA for the Yankees this year, including 11-3 after the All-Star break. He was their most effective starter in the postseason, pitching 6 1-3 scoreless innings in Game 2 of New York's first-round loss to Cleveland.

Pettitte had until Wednesday to decide on his option, part of the contract he agreed to last December when he returned to the Yankees after three seasons with his hometown Houston Astros. That deal paid him a $16 million salary this year.

• WINTHROP VOLLEYBALL -- Winthrop middle hitter Shannon Sitzmann was named Big South Conference Choice Hotels Player of the Week.

Sitzmann, a junior from LeMars, Iowa, put away 35 kills, 5.83 kills per game and hit .467 to lead Winthrop to a 2-0 record in league play over the weekend.

Sitzmann is the only player to be named player of the week four times this season.

• WINTHROP GOLF -- In Cashiers, N.C., the Winthrop men's golf team finds itself in ninth place and 20 shots behind tournament leader and tourney host Western Carolina following the opening day of the 2007 WCU Intercollegiate which is being played on the par 71, 6,767-yard Country Club of Sapphire Valley.

The Eagles shot 298, while Western Carolina shot the second lowest round in school history, a six-under par 278, and leads second place Vanderbilt by five strokes.

Winthrop was led by senior Pete Alminas, who shot a one-over 72 (36-36) and is tied for 14th place. Junior Kelly Manders is a shot back at 73 (38-35) and is tied for 21st place. Freshman Jacob Carlsson fired a 76 (37-39) stands in a tie for 40th place, while junior Trevor Muffley opened strong with a 35, but finished with a 77 (35-42) and is tied for 51st place. Junior Andrew Buergler rounds out the Winthrop players with a 81 (40-41) and is tied for 75th place.

Western Carolina juniors Andres Cuenca and Dustin Furnari stand tied atop the leader board with identical opening-round scores of 66.

The final round will tee off at 9:30 a.m. today

• LOCAL BASEBALL -- The Clover 18U Fall League Team just completed an undeafeated season with a record of 14-0-1.

Members of the team were Ross Bailes, Logan Boyters, Kraig Dean, Travis Heffner, Lloyd Jackson, Clint Medlin, Ben Pendleton, Travis Swanda, Tommy Walkowiak, Chaztin Venezia, Evan Womack, Brian Mekler and Steven Clinton. The team was coached by Garth Swanda, Tom Walkowiak and Ronnie Heffner.

• COLLEGE BASKETBALL -- In Columbia, transfer Devan Downey led South Carolina with 27 points as the Gamecocks beat Guilford College 99-63 in an exhibition game.

Downey, who came to South Carolina from Cincinnati, is one of three high-profile transfers for the Gamecocks. Zam Fredrick from Georgia Tech had 10 points and Branden Conrad from Navy didn't score, but played just seven minutes.

Freshman Mike Holmes added 19 points and 10 rebounds for South Carolina, which forced 21 turnovers and blocked eight shots against the Division III Quakers.

• PRO HOCKEY -- Cory Stillman scored a hat trick just 11:28 into the game as part of a four-point effort to help the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Washington Capitals.

Eric Staal added two goals and Ray Whitney and Matt Cullen had two assists for the Hurricanes, who improved to 5-1-1 at home. Cam Ward made 35 saves for the Southeast Division-leaders.