Mariano Rivera throws batting practice

02/22/2013 11:31 AM ET
By Joe Auriemma

Mariano Rivera remains on track to close for the Yankees beginning on Opening Day.(AP)
New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera faced hitters in a live batting practice session for the first time since last May 3, when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while shagging fly balls in the outfield before a Yankees-Royals game in Kansas City.

Rivera, who has been progressing steadily to get back on the mound in 2013 for a possible final season, continues to prove at 43 that age is just a number. This session is just another step into continuing his Hall of Fame career. In the live session, Rivera faced off against first baseman Kyle Roller, who had 18 home runs in Class-A Tampa last season and Rob Segedin, an outfielder and third baseman who finished the 2012 season in Double-A Trenton.

All-in-all, Rivera threw 20 pitches to the pair.

"It feels real good there," Rivera said. "The big thing of this is doing the real thing, covering first base, fielding bunts, all that stuff. The rest is good."

Rivera playfully joked in a serious tone with manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman during the Carlos Silva benefit event on February 4 at the Hard Rock in Times Square about not making any road trips in Spring Training, which is has been a normal occurrence over the last few years.  Rivera and the Yankees are unsure when his Spring Training debut will happen, but when it does, it will certainly be a big deal.

Friday's session was a terrific first step to that happening sooner, rather than later.

"Basically just wanted to see the hitters, that's it," Rivera said. "I don't do nothing different than the bullpen, but seeing the hitters, seeing how they swing at the ball. The first BP that I threw in almost a year. I'm really happy with the results."

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