Everything 'good' for Mariano Rivera after 32-pitch BP session

Mariano Rivera delivers a pitch in the bullpen Mariano Rivera delivers a pitch in the bullpen during spring training at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- Another batting practice session and it again was all "good" for Mariano Rivera.

The closer, who spoke enthusiastically about his first live BP session Friday, had a 32-pitch outing Monday.

"I felt real good," Rivera said. "Location was good. Everything was good. Both [sessions] were good. Can't complain. I did what I wanted to do and the results were good."

Rivera, 43, still is wearing a light brace on his right knee, something he will do for the foreseeable future. But he said his surgically repaired knee isn't bothering him in the least. In fact, he said he hasn't thought about it during spring training.

"I don't feel nothing," Rivera said. "I don't think about it at all. I'm running normal as if nothing ever happened."

Rivera said his next step might be a simulated game, though it could be another live BP. He's unlikely to appear in a game until the first week of March, and Rivera said that when he does make his first appearance, it will be the first of eight. "We have plenty of time," he said. "Eight innings is plenty. It's gone well and the results are great."

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Still going

Melky Mesa, the 26-year-old prospect very much in the running for an outfield spot with the injury to Curtis Granderson, said he still plans to play in the World Baseball Classic for his home country, the Dominican Republic.

Joe Girardi said he is OK with that. "He's going to play against lefthanders there, too," he said.

Mesa, a righthanded hitter, will be playing for Yankees bench coach Tony Peña, who will manage the Dominican Republic. "If they need me here, I'll be here," Mesa said.

Healthy pessimism

On Sunday, Brian Cashman targeted March 10 for Derek Jeter's return. When the shortstop does come back, Girardi said he will hit either first or second, then referred to him as a "wild card."

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"I assume he is ,'' Girardi said, "but you never know if someone's going to have a little setback."

Struck him out

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Vidal Nuno, who led the organization in strikeouts last season (126) with Class A Tampa and Double-A Trenton, started and allowed one run and two hits in two innings, striking out five.

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