TAMPA, Fla. - Yankees closer Mariano Rivera did more than throw Friday. He also called balls and strikes.
The 43-year old Rivera threw 25 pitches in his first batting practice session since knee surgery last year and said he was happy with the results.
"It feels great to be on the mound," said Rivera, who expects to throw BP one or two more times. "Basically, just wanted to see hitters. I'm excited. Build up, and we'll go from there."
The first batter Rivera faced was minor leaguer Rob Segedin. After the first pitch, which the right-handed batter took, Rivera said: "Strike 1." When the next pitch was taken, Rivera said: "Strike 2, you better swing."
Segedin took the advice on the third offering, and lined what would have been a single to right center.
"There you go," Rivera said.
Rivera was limited to nine games last year, his season ending when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while tracking down a fly ball during batting practice May 3 in Kansas City. He had surgery to repair the injury June 12.
"He looked great," manager Joe Girardi said. "Looked like what you'd expect him to look like, which is a good thing."
Rivera is a 12-time All-Star with 608 saves in the regular season and 42 more in the postseason.
After additional BP sessions, he might throw a simulated game before starting exhibition play ahead of the Yankees' April 1 opener against Boston.