For Mariano Rivera, today’s bullpen session was the beginning of a methodical and finely tuned process. It was the first time he’d thrown off a mound since the World Series.
“I felt good,” Rivera said. “I wasn’t wild. For the first one, I’ll take it.”
On the day Rivera threw his first bullpen, most of the minor league pitchers threw for the fifth time this spring. Learning how to get ready for the season — and get ready to pitch into October — seems to be a skill of it’s own.
“I was running the other day,” Triple-A reliever Grant Duff said. “I’m a bigger guy so I’m not the fastest runner in the world, but I looked over — and I’m running pretty much as hard as I can on this last one — and he’s right there with me the whole time. I was like, oh my gosh. He knows exactly what he has to do to be prepared for what he’s going to do, which is cool. That’s what we all strive to do is to get to that routine that you know exactly what it takes to be at your best and last the whole season. He’s got it down to a science.”
• Andy Pettitte is the only pitcher throwing batting practice tomorrow, but a few others will throw a normal bullpen session. Pettitte is supposed to pitch around 9 a.m. and the team should be out of camp close to 10.
• Still no word on what the big group outing will be, but Girardi said it will be competitive. “It’ll be fun,” he said. “I’ve got some work I need tonight to prepare for it, but it’ll be fun.”
• Chan Ho Park threw 35 pitches today. Damaso Marte threw 25. They’ll throw another bullpen on Wednesday.
• While A.J. Burnett was facing hitters on the main field, Andrew Brackman threw batting practice on a back field. “He was pretty good for a first BP,” pitching coordinator Nardi Contreras said. “He was better than some of the big league pitchers I saw on their first day.”
• When Burnett was finished with his BP, he walked off the field and said “Thank you guys,” to the hitters. I thought that was cool.
• I saw Jorge Vazquez hit a few bombs today. Nothing off the top of the scoreboard, but he can hit them pretty far.
• Tony Pena hit fairly routine ground balls to Derek Jeter at shortstop, then he mixed in a ball deep in the hole toward third base. When Jeter got to it Pena said, “Just checking, that’s all.”