Rivera sails through practice session




 
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Rivera sails through practice session
 
February 24th, 2007  
Team Infidel
 
 

Topic: Rivera sails through practice session


Rivera sails through practice session


Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - Mariano Rivera sailed through his first batting practice session. The Yankees closer threw 35 pitches Friday to a hitting group that included Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu and Robinson Cano.
"Mariano was fine," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Rivera was sidelined from Aug. 31 to Sept. 22 last year because of a muscle strain near his right elbow. The 37-year-old right-hander finished 5-5 with 34 saves and an 1.80 ERA.
"No problems," Rivera said.
Rivera worked on throwing strikes, which meant Jeter and the others didn't have to face his cutter. Rivera is fourth on the career saves list with 413 and is first with 34 postseason saves.
"I've been pretty spoiled with him over the years," Torre said. "He's in great condition. He's got a great heart. I don't know what else I can say about it."
Rivera and his teammates earlier took part in a fly ball drill that included a new pitching machine that was a bit erratic. With a cloudless sky, the Yankees looked more like the Bad News Bears than the defending AL East champions.
Things started poorly on the very first ball, a fly that first went over and then spun back toward Hideki Matsui in left field.
"I thought Hideki was going to take one on the coconut," Torre said. "That first one, it was like overspin."
The outcome was the same on the next four, including badly failed attempts to track down high fly balls by Jeter and center fielder Johnny Damon. The laughter from the crowd increased after each failure and finally resulted in coach Larry Bowa flipping his fungo bat high into the air after the fifth consecutive miscue as players around him broke out in laughter.
"The combination of not finding it right away and the high sky, I think we lost them early, then it just got ugly," Torre said.
Jeter finally made the first catch on the sixth overall attempt, running frantically toward the pitcher's mound after first misjudging the ball. He made a snow-cone, basket catch that resulted in a loud cheer from the fans and a big smile from third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
"They had it on knuckleball," Jeter said. "They switched it a little later. It was funny, but it wasn't funny."
Jeter's catch got the biggest cheer of the day.
"We were cheering, too," Torre said.
The follies resumed on the next fly, when Rodriguez dropped the ball while attempting a basket catch. A Rod later redeemed himself, raising both arms above his head after making a running basket catch near the third-base line.
The comedy of errors ended after around a dozen balls, when adjustments to the pitching machine finally eliminated the knuckling.
"You know what it is, you have those two wheels and they both have separate knobs on speed," Torre said. "It's a new gun for us. It was nobody's idea. They were just trying to find the combination to make the spin right."
Torre said the team will do it again, probably after spring training games.
Notes: Rodriguez and LHP Andy Pettitte stopped to visit briefly with George Steinbrenner while the Yankees owner was having lunch after the workout. ... Torre didn't rule out the possibility that hard-throwing RHP Humberto Sanchez might get a look as a late-inning reliever. ... The projected rotation will throw BP for the second time Saturday. ... The parents of Yankees GM Brian Cashman didn't exactly get the red carpet treatment. There were told to move from their seats in the second row near the dugout by Legends Field chief of security Randy Baker. They wound up moving one row and a section over.
 


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