Rivera took Soriano aside in the home Yankee Stadium clubhouse on Tuesday and gave the right-hander something to think about, quizzing him about the pitch selection that resulted in Colby Rasmus' three-run homer in the Bombers' 9-8 loss to Toronto on Monday.
"Mariano came to me and said, 'Hey, go throw your fastball,'" Soriano said. "Tonight, you can do whatever you want, but don't throw too many sliders. Your best pitch right now [is the] fastball."
Soriano agreed, backed off on the sliders and pitched a perfect ninth inning with two strikeouts.
"It was as good of stuff as I've seen him have this year," manager Joe Girardi said. "I thought his fastball was exceptional, and his slider, as well. It's hard when you're a closer and you do your job 95 percent of the time, but it doesn't make it easier that five percent. He did a good job tonight."
Rivera also reminded Soriano of a closer's duties with the media. Last season, Soriano skipped out after blowing a save and had to deal with the resulting headlines; on Monday, Soriano said that he didn't see any reporters who wanted to talk to him, but Rivera didn't accept that.
"He said, 'Hey, what did I tell you last year, man? You've got to talk to these guys,'" Soriano said. "I say, 'All right, bro. I know you told me last year.'"
Yankees catcher Russell Martin said the exchange is just another example of how valuable Rivera can be to the team, even as he is most likely out for the season rehabbing the right ACL he injured in May.
"He's talked to Dave Robertson a little bit before, too," Martin said. "When he has something to say, you listen. He knows what he's doing and he's been doing it for a while. For me, it's kind of like when Derek [Jeter] comes and talks to me about hitting. You've got to be all ears. I wish he would've been right behind me yesterday so I would have done it differently."