Mariano Rivera faced Albert Pujols on Sunday, a delicious matchup of the greatest closer of all-time against one of the game's all-time sluggers.
Rivera struck out Pujols looking with the bases loaded to preserve a 6-5 victory.
Wednesday, the end of Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Dodgers brought another intriguing matchup: Rivera against baseball's latest rookie sensation, Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
Rivera struck out Puig looking to save a 6-4 win.
"To tell you the truth, I don't think about it, I have to do my job, he has to do his," Rivera said of facing Puig, who to that point had hit four balls hard in his at-bats, collecting two hits. "Just throw strikes and hit my spots."
Which isn't to say the 43-year-old closer hasn't noticed the 22-year-old Puig, whom he called "a young boy," and admiringly referred to the outfielder's aggression.
"That's how you play the game," Rivera said. "Why change when you come to the big leagues? Being aggressive, there's nothing wrong with that. Just have to be smart."
Puig twice tried extending singles into doubles. He failed in the first when centerfielder Brett Gardner threw him out, and succeeded in the eighth, again on a ball to center.
"He was a little too aggressive the first time, but it took a perfect throw to get him out," Rivera said. "I like to see young boys like this who play hard. That's the way you play the game of baseball."
Jeter in swing
Derek Jeter (ankle), cleared to resume full baseball activities last week, took on-field batting practice at the team's minor-league complex in Tampa, taking 21 swings and hitting balls to all fields.
Alex Rodriguez (hip) had a light day of rehab in Tampa, doing mostly conditioning after running the bases hard on Tuesday . . . Lyle Overbay's two-run double in the second inning off lefthander Hyun-Jin Ryu in the first game gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead and was the first baseman's 15th double of the season, one shy of Brett Gardner's team lead . . . Hiroki Kuroda improved to 8-2 with a 2.22 ERA in 13 daytime starts as a Yankee.