Originally written on The Other Paper  |  Last updated 11/14/14
The signing of Andy Pettitte— after a year of retirement — by the New York Yankees at the end of spring training was met with skepticism by most fans and a little bit sentimentality by the rest.  Now,  it looks like Brian Cashman's latest out-of-the-box pitching acquisition since Bartolo Colon might be the spark the starting rotation needs.

Remember how the surgically repaired, over-weight Colon supplemented the Yankees' rotation early last season— after missing two seasons— when the pitchers struggled?  He was the early favorite for Comeback Player of the Year until he slowed down in the stretch.  But it was enough to help carry the team into the playoffs.

With Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia throwing beach balls to opponents, Michael Pineda out for the season and CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda looking a little tentative, all eyes are now on Pettitte and no one knows it more than his old friend Mariano Rivera.

"I know how he's doing," said Rivera.  "I'm keeping an eye on him."

The closer is still reluctant to push Pettitte's comeback ahead of schedule.

"We definitely need him back," Rivera said of the 40-year old Pettitte.  "But we need him at 100 percent."

Pettitte is still working out the kinks and gave up three earned runs in five innings Wednesday for Double-A Trenton in his second start.  If all goes according to plan, Pettitte will be back with Rivera in the majors by mid-May as the No. 3 starter.

"He'll change the dynamic of the whole rotation," said centerfielder Curtis Granderson.  "We all know what a difference  he can make."

Rivera made it clear he isn't knocking the current state of the rotation and knows it's too early to throw in the towel.

"I'm not concerned at all," said Rivera.  "We have a lot of games left.  I'm happy it's happening now than later."

If any one knows when Pettitte will be ready, it'll be Pettitte himself.

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