TAMPA, Fla. -- Nobody seems to have a better understanding of what he needs to prepare for the regular season than Mariano Rivera. For the Yankees' closer, that meant throwing 28 pitches to live hitters on Monday.
Rivera looked like he was in midseason form as he worked to a lefty-righty duo of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Dickerson behind George M. Steinbrenner Field, permitting only a couple of hard-hit balls and otherwise giving his outing a thumbs up.
"I wanted to see swings of the batters, what kind of swings they put on the ball, and obviously work the strike zone," Rivera said. "I was happy with it today. I'm optimistic, I feel great. I'll be ready ... I was born ready."
Rivera typically only requires about eight Grapefruit League innings to be prepared for the season. He could get the first of those as early as Sunday, when the Yankees play the Phillies in a split-squad game in Tampa, manager Joe Girardi said.
Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano also pitched in the session, throwing 26 pitches. Girardi said both Rivera and Soriano looked good.