Mariano Rivera in command during first live batting practice
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TAMPA, Fla. -- It was a real throwback at Yankees camp Friday morning. Mariano Rivera followed Andy Pettitte to the Steinbrenner Field mound for live batting practice, watched by a guest catching instructor who knows the veterans as well as anyone: Jorge Posada. And Rivera enjoyed seeing him. "He's a guy I have played with for so many years," he said. "Definitely I do.'' Rivera faced righthanded- hitting Rob Segedin and left-handed-hitting Kyle Roller in the 20-pitch session, the first time the 43-year-old closer has faced hitters of any kind since April 30 of last season. Rivera's 2012 season ended May 3 when he tore his right ACL while shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City. "It's just BP, but it feels good to be on the mound and see some guys in there," Rivera said. "It helps me to see how the ball's moving, the location, how they're swinging at the ball." And for that reason, when Segedin stepped in, Rivera barked, with a humorous tone, "You better swing!" Segedin watched the first two pitches -- Rivera loudly called both as strikes -- before lining the third pitch into center. Pettitte, standing on the top step of the dugout, jokingly told Segedin: "There you go. Shut him up." Joe Girardi, watching along with Posada and pitching coach Larry Rothschild, said he saw "no difference" in the way Rivera threw Friday compared with last season. Or the season before. Or the season before . . . "He looked great," Girardi said. "Looked like you expect him to look like, which is a good thing. He's throwing it where he wants to. Looked normal to me. He might tell you it feels 95 percent, but I don't see anything different to me." Said Posada: "Happy to see Mo the way he was throwing. The cutter's still cutting." Rivera figures he'll need "one or two more" BP sessions before being ready to appear in a game. Girardi said that isn't likely to occur until the second week of games at the earliest. Rivera said the real test won't come until he pitches in games, but live BP is a good starting point. "I wanted to read the swings, I wanted to see how they're seeing the ball, how they're reacting to the ball," Rivera said. "First BP I've thrown in almost a year, so I'm real happy with the results. It will get better the longer I keep throwing." Chris Stewart didn't appear to have to move his catcher's mitt much, suggesting Rivera's command was as sharp as ever. The closer seemed almost offended at the suggestion that it wouldn't be. "That's one thing I thank God I never worry about, the command," Rivera said with a smile. "You do all the things you have to do, it will be there. It hasn't gone anywhere, guys. It's still there . . . I don't think like that - . I always know it will be there. Even if it's not, I always believe it will be there."
Extra basesPosada, invited to camp by owner Hal Steinbrenner, said he would "like to help out with the young catchers" and that he and the Yankees are "talking about" some kind of part-time coaching position. As for playing again? "I'm happy where I'm at," said Posada, 41. "I know I can't play the game now." . . . CC Sabathia threw 40 pitches in his third bullpen session and said he'll throw his first live BP on Monday. "Felt good, no problems," Sabathia said . . . Pettitte came away pleased from his 24-pitch live BP. "Made it through," he said while watching Rivera throw . . . Phil Hughes said two days of taking anti-inflammatories has his upper back feeling "significantly" better than Monday, when he suffered two bulging discs while covering first base. Hughes will be sidelined for at least the next 10 days . . . David Phelps will start Saturday's exhibition opener against the Braves at Disney.