NEW YORK -- Mike Mussina finally broke his public silence this week, and though his words revealed little about his plans, he did say that he will make a decision by early next week.
"I'm still kind of up in the air," Mussina told the Daily News on Wednesday, in his first public comments since the regular season ended. "I'm enjoying my time off, but then again, I always enjoy my time off."
Mussina, 39, won 20 games last season for the first time, and he often said how "cool" he thought it would be to go out on top. Yet at 270 career victories, Mussina would certainly relish a crack at 300 -- a milestone that would ensure serious Hall of Fame consideration. And so he insisted throughout last season that if he returns to play one more year, he will return to play three.
The Yankees, meanwhile, have been awaiting Mussina's decision since the season ended roughly six weeks ago. Knowing Mussina's future would allow them to make decisions on Andy Pettitte and the game's top free-agent pitchers, including CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Derek Lowe.
Both general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi said earlier this month that they had not heard from Mussina or his agent, Arn Tellem, and that they were not surprised by the silence.
"Moose told me after the season that he was probably going to retire," Girardi said outside of Joe Torre's Safe at Home Foundation gala last week. "I've said all along you've got to give a month or two to decide."
Time has taken on a more significant role for the Yankees, because Friday marks the first day that they can discuss contract details with free agents from other teams. Once they know whether or not Mussina will be back in their rotation, they can more accurately assess their needs on the open market.
Overall, Mussina was 20-9 with a 3.37 ERA last season. He has won 123 games over eight seasons with the Yankees.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.