As the first full week of spring training begins to wind down, the progress of legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has been a major storyline. Continuing his recovery from a torn ACL, Rivera has looked seamless in all aspects of camp thus far, from throwing sessions to showing good mobility covering first base during fielding drills. Moreover, he has shown no side effects of the brace that he plans on wearing all season on the right knee, which suffered the aforementioned torn ACL.
Today, per George A. King III of The New York Post, Rivera continued in his recovery as he faced live batting for the first time since last April. Rivera threw a 25-pitch batting practice to minor leaguers Kyle Roller and Rob Segedin, and similar to every step since the 43-year-old began his return from the major injury, Rivera was happy with the results,
“It was the first batting practice I threw this year and I am really happy with the results,'' Rivera said following a 25-pitch batting practice session at George M. Steinbrenner Field this morning. "And it will get better.''
The session was monitored closely, as manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman were among the spectators as Rivera threw to the batters. While Major League Baseball's all-time saves leader wasn't looking to dominate the hitters, he did offer a little bit of smack talk to Segedin,
“You better swing," Rivera said to the Teaneck native before delivering the first pitch of the workout.”
While Rivera has successfully participated in all normal spring training activities, the importance of getting live sequences against professional batters is one of the most significant steps of his process so far.
Between showing good lateral movement and mobility and getting back into his comfort zone on the mound, Rivera is on track to being ready to go Monday, April 1, when the Boston Red Sox come to town for opening day.
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