Mariano Rivera tossed one quick and effective inning this morning at theNew York Yankees Spring Training Complex in Tampa, Florida. The inning was pitched to the delight of coaches and fans who have already watched the Bronx Bombers lose key outfielder Curtis Granderson earlier this week.
Yankees fans are hoping to forget an off-season which included the lose of Russell Martin to Pittsburgh and passing on star free agents like Josh Hamilton and Zack Greinke due to the salary cap. The teams focus has now turned to preparing for the season.
Rivera participated in running drills with CC Sabathia, after which they threw together before each having their shot at live hitters. CC threw 46 pitches over two innings and Rivera threw 18 pitches over one inning to minor league prospects. Though Rivera didn’t throw many live pitches, he had to come off the mound three times, twice to field bunts, and one slow chopper to his left. Rivera made the play on all three occasions, moving very well in the process.
Seeing action in only nine games last season, you can believe the 12-time all-star is very anxious to get back in the game. According to Yahoo Sports, Rivera was very happy with his bullpen sessions last week, but ready for live hitters.
“It felt good to see guys up there again, but the one thing I want to do is get in a real game and see how everything responds,” Rivera said.
At 43 years old, Rivera has 608 career saves, including 42 in the postseason. It is extremely rare in the MLB today to find players still on the field into their 40s, but, with the most dominant cutter of all-time, there has never been a doubt in Rivera’s abilities on the field or off the field for that matter.
As the preseason continues to roll on, Rivera will get closer and closer to being “game day ready,” which should once again hold down the back end of the Yankees bullpen.
According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger, David Phelps will have the start in today’s preseason game against the Blue Jays, which will also include newly acquired designated hitter Travis Hafner in the lineup. Though Phelps will have the opportunity to face Jose Reyes today, all eyes were on Rivera as he tossed his simulation inning, making major strides towards pitching in a real game. His ability to come off the mound and make plays has shown that he has come a long ways since his knee surgery last year.