This winter, Andy Pettitte had no trouble leaping off the fence between retirement and another season in pinstripes.

"I had a desire to work this off-season like I was still young in my career," Pettitte said. "It made it an easy decision."

So there was Pettitte on a bullpen mound Wednesday morning, cranking up his left arm and easing into his windup alongside Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda and the ageless Mariano Rivera.

"I feel better now than I was at age 30," Pettitte said after the first day of pitchers and catchers workouts at Steinbrenner Field, where the 40-year-old lefty isn’t savoring each spring day as if it could be his last roundup.

"As I sit right here, I would say I hope this is it," Pettitte said with a laugh. "But having gone through this, I am not going to shut it down again unless I know for a fact that I’m done."

At this time a year ago, Pettitte was a guest instructor at camp harboring a secret to return to the Yankees’ rotation — which he did by mid-May.

"I wouldn’t say this would be his last season," said manager Joe Girardi. And, "I don’t necessarily think that if he wouldn’t have gotten hurt that he would’ve retired [after last season]."