Sunday notes: Mariano exactly as expected

Maybe the only surprise stemming from Mariano Rivera’s first appearance of the spring was that the three Phillies who faced him bussed back to Clearwater with their bats intact. Rivera needed 14 pitches to navigate a perfect fourth inning, throwing 10 of them in an at-bat with Lou Montanez that featured five foul balls.

The way Russell Martin was talking, maybe that could be considered a moral victory.

“It is an honor to catch Mo,” Martin said. “If it ever happens, it’ll be a long time before we see another guy with the ability to do that.”

Rivera got a standing ovation as the strains of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” blared at Steinbrenner Field, and Rivera wouldn’t bite when he was later asked if he thought it was because he has strongly hinted 2012 may be his Major League farewell tour.

But of the ovation, Rivera said, “I always appreciate it. It doesn’t matter the situation, I always appreciate it.”

What went right: Down in Fort Myers against the Twins, Phil Hughes allowed one hit and one walk over three innings, walking one and striking out one. He threw 24 of 36 pitches for strikes. … CC Sabathia worked on his two-seam fastball and tuned up with three innings of scoreless, two-hit ball against the Phillies. He walked one and struck out two, tossing 28 of 39 pitches for strikes. … Chris Dickerson lined a two-run single in Tampa and thrilled the crowd by keeping a rundown going between third base and home plate in the third inning. … Derek Jeter was 2-for-3. … Russell Martin stole his team-leading fourth base. … Yankees pitching combined to hold the Phillies scoreless on three hits, walking three and striking out eight. … Adam Warren pitched three innings of one-run ball against the Twins. … Francisco Cervelli went 3-for-3 with an RBI single against the Twins.

What went wrong: The Yankees fell, 5-1, in Fort Myers. Non-roster invitee Adam Miller served up a full-count, three-run homer to Michael Hollimon. Miller has allowed eight runs in 1 1/3 innings, a 54.00 ERA. … Graham Stoneburner took the loss in Fort Myers, allowing a Danny Valencia solo homer. … Corban Joseph was caught stealing in the Twins game. … The Yankees were 1-for-9 with RISP against Philadelphia; 1-for-7 against Minnesota.

What they said: “You feel a lot better when that guy’s on your side. You’re able to get him the ball, you feel like you’ve got a good chance of winning. I mean, more than a good chance. You feel like you’re going to win the game when he’s out on the mound.” – Sabathia, on Rivera.

What’s next: Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball for his second spring start on Monday as the Yankees play under the lights for the first time this year, welcoming the Houston Astros to George M. Steinbrenner Field for a 7:05 p.m. ET contest. Catcher Russell Martin is expected to be behind the plate to call the pitches for his former Dodgers teammate.

1 Comment

Let’s hope Hughes can this up.

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