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First BP session is satisfying for Rivera

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, left, comments as he

Yankees manager Joe Girardi, left, comments as he watches closer Mariano Rivera throw live batting practice at spring training. (Mar. 8, 2010) Credit: AP

TAMPA, Fla. - Mariano Rivera found the day delectable.

Rivera and Damaso Marte got through their first batting practice sessions OK, and after his 34-pitch session, Rivera was in a playful mood.

"I felt outstanding, delicious, bueno," he said.

Pitching coach Dave Eiland said Rivera is likely to pitch in his first game March 17 against the Phillies in Clearwater. Rivera typically doesn't travel during spring training, however, and Joe Girardi hinted the outing is likely to come in a split-squad home game next Tuesday against Tampa Bay.

"We'll figure it out," Rivera said with a smile.

Marte is expected to pitch in the same game as Rivera.

Rivera, who said he will throw another BP session Wednesday or Thursday, pitched from behind a protective "L" screen, which other Yankees pitchers have said they don't use because it distracts them. Rivera said that's what he's done "for 20 years."

"I use the screen because [it allows me] to pay attention more to where I'm throwing the ball and not to trying to protect myself. I just worry about where the ball's going to go," Rivera said. "I prefer to feel a little bit uncomfortable but be safe."

Cervelli cleared

Francisco Cervelli, who suffered a concussion Saturday when he was hit in the head with a pitch, was cleared to play after seeing a neurologist. Girardi said Cervelli will do some "light stuff" such as catching in the bullpen and taking some batting practice.

Park set to throw

Chan Ho Park was supposed to throw his first BP Monday but was pushed back because of a sore gluteus. He said he will throw Tuesday, though Brian Cashman said he gave the same message to Park that he did to Nick Johnson, who was back in the lineup after missing several days with back stiffness.

He told the pair not to rush back because "you've already made the team."

Extra bases

George Steinbrenner attended the win over the Phillies, making it three of four home games he's attended . . . Alfredo Aceves, contending for the fifth spot in the rotation, pitched four perfect innings in a 6-0 win over the Pirates in Bradenton.


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