Postgame notes: Mo covers, Mesa impresses

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
10:45
PM ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-2, tonight at The Boss in a game notable for Derek Jeter's return to shortstop and Andy Pettitte's return to the mound. But there were other notable occurrences as well:

MO SHOW: Mariano Rivera's second appearance of the spring was a brief one, just nine pitches and three groundouts, the kind of thing the Yankees can never get enough of in the regular season. But it was especially encouraging because on the third out of the inning, a grounder to first baseman Juan Rivera, Mo had to sprint from the mound to the base, the first real game situation test of his surgically-repaird knee. Even though Rivera -- Juan, that is -- made the play unassisted, the fact that Rivera -- Mo, that is -- was able to get off the mound quickly and without pain was a sign that the knee is fully healed and no longer an issue. "Now it's just a matter of getting ready for the season," said Mo, who has thrown just 24 pitches in his two appearances.

THE MELKY WAY: Melky Mesa continues to open eyes in center. On Tuesday, he made two terrific catches in the first inning to bail out Ivan Nova. Tonight, he made a good running catch on a bloop to short right-center to potentially save a run, or maybe two, in the first inning for Pettitte. "He’s made some really, really good plays out there," said Joe Girardi, who continues to mention Mesa as the possible replacement for the injured Curtis Granderson in center field. "That’s why it’s important to me that (Brett Gardner) and Ichiro (Suzuki) are flexible for us. Hypothetically, you could move those two guys."

BEN, GOOD TO SEE YOU: Ben Francisco, the newest Yankee, made a good impression right out of the gate with a two-run double over the head of Ben Revere in the first inning. Girardi said he liked what he saw from Francisco so much he wanted to see it again tomorrow when the Yankees travel to Dunedin to play the Blue Jays.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.285 13 62 63
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 62
RB. Gardner 78
OPSB. Gardner .774
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAH. Kuroda 3.88
SOM. Tanaka 135