TAMPA, Fla. - TAMPA, Fla. - It is another year of a significantly scaled-back spring-training schedule for Mariano Rivera, which is just fine with all involved.
"The abbreviated springs have worked for him," Joe Girardi said. "We don't feel it's necessary for him to get into 15 games and get stretched out for two innings.''
Rivera had his first bullpen session Monday, throwing 21 pitches to Francisco Cervelli. It was his first time on a mound since Game 6 of the World Series.
"I don't feel older, I feel good," Rivera, 40, said. "I feel real good."
Rivera won't get into a game until probably the week of March 15 and, Girardi said with a smile, "it will be at home," as his closer won't be getting on many buses this spring.
Rivera likely will total 8-10 innings.
"After you throw nine, 10, 11 innings, what is there to do? You're ready," Rivera said. "If you're ready, you're ready. You don't need to go and throw . . . Well, I don't need to go and throw 14 or 15 innings."
Rivera, like Derek Jeter, is entering the final year of his contract, a topic he addressed on report day. Unlike Jeter, Rivera hasn't put a moratorium on the topic's discussion and he was asked about it again Monday.
"I definitely want to [stay a Yankee], but this is a business," Rivera said.
"Watching CC throw last year, being a power guy and how much he uses it, kind of opened my eyes a little bit," Burnett said after his first BP session Monday in which 12 of his 30 pitches were changeups. "Why not work on something?"
Damaso Marte and the newest Yankee, Chan Ho Park, also threw their first bullpen sessions. Girardi said Park "looked great." . . . The Yankees are off Tuesday and will participate in some kind of competition like last season when they had a pool tournament.