Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/22/13
TAMPA, Fla. — Yankees closer Mariano Rivera did more than throw on Friday. He also called balls and strikes. The 43-year old Rivera threw 25 pitches in his first batting practice session since knee surgery last year and said he was happy with the results. “It feels great to be on the mound,” said Rivera, who expects to throw BP one or two more times. “Basically, just wanted to see hitters. I’m excited. Build up, and we’ll go from there.” The first batter Rivera faced was minor leaguer Rob Segedin. After the first pitch, which the right-handed batter took, Rivera said: “Strike 1.” When the next pitch was taken, Rivera said: “Strike 2, you better swing.” Segedin took the advice on the third offering, and lined what would have been a single to right center. “There you go,” Rivera said. Rivera was limited to nine games last year, his season ending when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while tracking down a fly ball during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3. He had surgery to repair the injury on June 12. “He looked great,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Looked like what you’d expect him to look like, which is a good thing.” Rivera is a 12-time All-Star with 608 saves in the regular season and 42 more in the postseason. After additional BP sessions, he might throw a simulated game before starting exhibition play ahead of the Yankees’ April 1 opener against Boston. Ace CC Sabathia, likely to start that opener, threw 40 pitches during his third bullpen session and intends to throw batting practice on Monday. “Felt good. No problems,” Sabathia said. The left-hander had arthroscopic surgery Oct. 25 to remove a bone spur from his left elbow. Shortstop Derek Jeter, coming back after ankle surgery, continues to increase his workouts. He is hitting and fielding, and participating in an indoor running program. “Every day is more and more,” Jeter said. “More agility, more running.” Andy Pettitte, who turns 41 in June, threw 24 pitches in his initial batting practice session. Right-hander Phil Hughes, receiving treatment for bulging disk in his upper back, said he feels significantly better and could start pool work Sunday. He might resume playing catch next week.
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