Don't count Mariano Rivera among those concerned about the Yankees' starting pitching.
Despite Wednesday's news that Michael Pineda will be lost for the season with a torn labrum and the continued struggles of Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia, Rivera thinks it's too early to be overly worried.
"I'm not concerned at all,'' the Yankees' closer said Thursday. "How many games have we played already? We have a hundred-and-something games left. It's early in the year. I'm glad it happened now than later.''
Through 18 games, Yankees starters have a 5.73 ERA, which ranked ahead of only Boston and Minnesota in the major leagues entering yesterday. The bullpen was third in the majors with a 2.31 ERA, and Rivera hasn't allowed a baserunner in his last three appearances.
"Andy brings with him a lot of effort and determination,'' he said, adding that he's been following his minor-league starts. "And he's great as a teammate.''
The Yankees (10-8) will host Detroit (10-9) Friday night at the Stadium in the teams' first meeting since last Oct. 6, when the Tigers earned a 3-2 win in the deciding ALDS Game 5. "Last year is last year,'' Rivera said. "It's a new year, and with that brings new beginnings. So we just have to play our game -- simple as that.''