Spring training gets monotonous quickly, but there are little steps along the way that mark the progress. Today, the Yankees took one of those steps.
Mariano Rivera threw his first bullpen this morning. Standard stuff, roughly 25 pitches, with no hitter in the box.
“He’s a machine,” said catcher Gustavo Molina, who caught the session.
As usual, Rivera was the last healthy pitcher to get on a mound this spring. This actually seems a little early for his first bullpen, but Rivera said a few days ago that the warm weather down here has him feeling a little ahead of schedule and ready to throw. So, how does the game’s greatest closer, at 42 years old, look when he gets on a mound for the first time in months?
“Everything was down in the zone, in and out,” Molina said.
He really is a machine.
• Nick Swisher is one of a handful of Yankees who’s in noticeably better shape this spring. Swisher worked out with several football players this winter, and he managed to cut down on his midsection while adding muscle up top. “This is the strongest I’ve ever been,” he said. “… I haven’t lost any weight. Just a completely different body.”
• Swisher said he’s faster and his throwing has improved since last season. It’s a contract year for him, and he said he has no intention of asking the Yankees for a mid-season extension. He knows that’s not how the organization works, so he’ll plan to hit free agency with hopes of ultimately signing back with the Yankees.
• Rivera wasn’t the only one getting on a mound early this morning. Manny Delcarmen, Adam Miller and Clay Rapada also had early bullpens today.
• Tomorrow’s batting practice assignments should be interesting. Both CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda are scheduled to throw BP tomorrow.
• Other than this morning’s four side sessions, there were no standard bullpens listed for today. Instead, eight pitchers were listed as throwing batting practice.
Adam Warren (to Russell Martin)
Mike O’Connor (to Jose Gil)
Brett Marshall (to Jose Gil)
Chase Whitley (to Gary Sanchez)
Ryan Pope (to Gustavo Molina)
Juan Cedeno (to J.R. Murphy)
Graham Stoneburner (to J.R. Murphy)
Dan Burawa (to Kyle Higashioka)
• Slight change to the hitting groups. The catchers are now lumped together and the last group of infielders has now been broken up and spread out. Here are today’s batting practice groups:
Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Brandon Laird, Eduardo Nunez
Eric Chavez, Ramiro Pena, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Doug Bernier
Russell Branyan, Bill Hall, Jayson Niz, Jorge Vazquez, David Adams
Francisco Cervelli, Jose Gil, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Nick Swisher
Chris Dickerson, Justin Maxwell, Cole Garner, Dewayne Wise
Zoilo Almonte, Colin Curtis, Melky Mesa, Corban Joseph
Kyle Higashioka, Russell Martin, J.R. Murphy, Gustavo Molina
• The fielding groups remain the same:
C: Kyle Higashioka, Russell Martin, Gustavo Molina, J.R. Murphy
INF: Russell Branyan, Robinson Cano, Eric Chavez, Bill Hall, Derek Jeter, Brandon Laird, Eduardo Nunez
OF: Zoilo Almonte, Colin Curtis, Curtis Granderson, Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Justin Maxwell
C: Francisco Cervelli, Jose Gil, Austin Romine, Gary Sanchez
INF: David Adams, Doug Bernier, Corban Joseph, Jayson Nix, Ramiro Pena, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Jorge Vazquez
OF: Chris Dickerson, Brett Gardner, Cole Garner, Melky Mesa, Nick Swisher, Dewayne Wise
• Tomorrow is photo day. It starts at 7:30 a.m., and players were instructed to wear their home whites, long sleeves and game hats. The sign with instructions also includes this line: “Please be Clean Shaven.”
Associated Press photo of Rivera from a few days ago