Notes: Mussina turns back the clock

Notes: Yankees enjoy old school scrimmage

TAMPA, Fla. -- All of a sudden, Mike Mussina was back with the Orioles, throwing against the Yankees again.

At least that's how he put it.

Mussina went up against the Yankees' starting lineup during an intrasquad game at Legends Field on Tuesday -- something he hadn't done since his days in Baltimore.

The 37-year-old right-hander asked to pitch in the nine-inning exhibition game, during which starting pitchers do not traditionally participate. He explained that the game just happened to fall five days before his next start, and that he wanted to get into the rhthym of the regular season as soon as possible.

"The first time is a little strange," Mussina said. "The first time is a little different, but it wasn't bad -- I felt pretty good. I had pretty good location. I wasn't disappointed. I wasn't fighting anything. Maybe after 16 years I figured out how to start a Spring Training [game]."

Mussina pitched two shutout innings, giving up three hits and striking out one, pitching for a squad comprised of mostly Minor Leaguers managed by Reggie Jackson.

New Yankees center fielder Johnny Damon led off for the regulars, or the "Yogi" squad, managed by Hall of Famer Yogi Berra. Damon had a nice first game in pinstripes. He singled in his first at-bat and gave everyone a thrill with a diving catch in shallow center on a line drive hit by Eric Duncan in the second inning.

"It felt pretty good," Damon said. "I feel pleased with my first game situation with the Yankees.

"We're trying to get in baseball shape, and today was a good way to kick it off."

With Damon in center and Gary Sheffield out of the lineup, Bernie Williams played right field and flashed his glove a bit as well. Kevin Thompson hit a ball to deep center field over Williams' head, but the veteran tracked it down and caught it over his right shoulder to save a run.

"I think I had a good jump on that one," said Williams, who should see time in right field this year when Sheffield gets a rest. "Not a bad first day. Hopefully I was able to raise some eyes and show a little of what I'm able to do in the outfield."

Jackson's squad edged Berra's team, 8-7.

Injury update: Hideki Matsui and Sheffield missed Tuesday's scrimmage with injuries, although both mentioned they felt good enough to play.

Matsui, who sat out after he experienced some swelling in his left knee, said he wasn't worried about it because it's something he's experienced before.

"My knee isn't that bad," Matsui said. "It's actually improving."

After missing Sunday's workout and part of Monday's sessions because of back spasms, Sheffield was held out of the intrasquad game for precautionary reasons.

He is expected to be ready for Thursday's spring opener against the Phillies.

"They're fine," manager Joe Torre said. "During the season, they would have played."

Huge Hughes: Top Yankees prospect Philip Hughes started for the "Yogi" team and tossed two hitless innings on Tuesday.

Yankees players and coaches have been generous with praise so far about the 6-foot-5, 19-year-old right-hander, who throws in the mid-90's and has drawn comparisons to Roger Clemens.

"I like what he's got," said Yankees catcher Jorge Posada. "I like everything he's got. He belongs, [even] at such a young age. Everything is there. He's a no-miss. He'll be in the big leagues soon."

Posada said he heard Hughes would begin the season in Double-A.

A little Mo': Closer Mariano Rivera took another step toward getting ready for the season by pitching batting practice before the intrasquad game.

"I would like to say that I want to give my arm the rest that I need," Rivera said. "Today, the first time on the mound [for] live BP, it felt real good. I have no complaints."

Rivera, traditionally a slow starter in the spring, threw off the mound for the first time earlier this month after not throwing during the winter. Rivera isn't expected to see action in any exhibition games until at least the second week of March.

Around the horn: Torre announced the starters for the upcoming spring games, with Randy Johnson pitching at home against Cincinnati on Saturday. Shawn Chacon will pitch the spring season opener on Thursday against Philadelphia, while Jaret Wright will throw Friday against the Phillies in Clearwater. Mussina will pitch Sunday against Toronto at Dunedin, and Chien-Ming Wang will start at home against the Blue Jays on Monday.

Thomas Simonetti is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.