Mariano Rivera threw his first bullpen this morning. He went through 25 pitches or so — he wasn’t sure the exact number — and focused on location.
“It doesn’t have to be hard,” he said. “Just find the location, and once you do that, start working on adding more speed to the ball. I did that and it was good today… Matter of fact, I was expecting a little bit less.”
Rivera will keep throwing bullpens for a while, then throw live BP once or twice before pitching his usual eight to 10 spring training games. It’s a routine that he’s honed over the years. Rivera knows what works for him.
“You pace yourself,” he said. “You don’t want to rush anything and then, in the middle of spring training you’re ready and just bored, kind of like.”
• Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Andrew Brackman and David Phelps threw live batting practice this morning to Colin Curtis, Doug Bernier, Austin Krum and Daniel Brewer. “Everyone was throwing strikes,” Bernier said. “It looked pretty crisp.”
• Although I haven’t seen them out there, Ramiro Pena and Brandon Laird both said they’ve been taking fly balls in the outfield. Pena said he did it yesterday, just to stay sharp out there if the Yankees need him. Laird is doing it as part of his natural spring training. Joe Girardi has already told Laird that he’ll be playing all over the place during the exhibition schedule.
• Curtis Granderson, Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena and Greg Golson are scheduled to do additional bunting drills today. Brett Gardner went through additional bunting yesterday and said he’s been doing a lot of that this spring.
• Pena and Eduardo Nunez have switched hitting groups so that Pena is now working alongside Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano during batting practice. The fielding groups are still the same — Nunez with Jeter and Cano — but infielders also go through defensive drills with their hitting groups during BP. It makes good sense to make sure both utility candidates get some time with the regular middle infielders.
• Apparently someone got tired of typing the name Higashioka several times on the daily schedule. Kyle is now listed simply as Higgy.
• Live batting practice pitchers:
Pedro Feliciano (to Russell Martin)
Dave Robertson (to Francisco Cervelli)
Ivan Nova (to Francisco Cervelli)
Manny Banuelos (to Kyle Higashioka)
Eric Wordekemper (to Kyle Higashioka)
Adam Warren (to Jesus Montero)
Dellin Betances (to Gustavo Molina)
Brian Anderson (to Austin Romine)
Andy Sisco (to Austin Romine)
Daniel Turpen (to Jose Gil)
Steve Garrison (to Jose Gil)
D.J. Mitchell (to Addison Maruszak)
• Hitting groups:
Infield Group 1: Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Ramiro Pena, Addison Maruszak, Jorge Posada
Infield Group 2: Ronnie Belliard, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Gustavo Molina
Infield Group 3: Eric Chavez, Brandon Laird, Kevin Russo, Austin Romine
Infielder Group 4: Doug Bernier, Brad Suttle, Jorge Vazquez, Jose Gil
Outfield Group 1: Greg Golson, Andruw Jones, Nick Swisher, Jesus Montero
Outfield Group 2: Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Justin Maxwell, Russell Martin
Outfield Group 3: Colin Curtis, Jordan Parraz, Melky Mesa, Francisco Cervelli
Outfield Group 4: Daniel Brewer, Austin Krum, Eduardo Nunez, Kyle Higashioka
• Fielding groups: Same as always
Catcher Group 1: Jose Gil, Russell Martin, Gustavo Molina, Jesus Montero
Catcher Group 2: Francisco Cervelli, Kyle Higashioka, Jorge Posada, Austin Romine
Infield Group 1: Doug Bernier, Robinson Cano, Eric Chavez, Derek Jeter, Eduardo Nunez, Brad Suttle, Jorge Vazquez
Infield Group 2: Ronnie Belliard, Brandon Laird, Ramiro Pena, Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Russo, Mark Teixeira
Outfield Group 1: Daniel Brewer, Curtis Granderson, Andruw Jones, Austin Krum, Jordan Parraz
Outfield Group 2: Colin Curtis, Brett Gardner, Greg Golson, Justin Maxwell, Melky Mesa, Nick Swisher
Associated Press photos