Pregame Notes: Mo needs Larry

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
6:06
PM ET
NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera said he is not worried after having blown three saves in a row for the first time in his career.

Still, the greatest closer of all time will do what players of much lesser stature have done throughout baseball history. He will consult with his pitching coach.

"Oh, yeah, I will definitely talk to Larry," Mo said, referring to Larry Rothschild. "That's why we have coaches, to tell you what you're doing wrong. Maybe do a little extra work, too."

Mariano said that because his pitches to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, both of whom hit home runs in the ninth inning to tie Sunday afternoon's game with the Tigers, drifted up into the zone, he thought the problems were with his release point and follow-through.

"I finish some and I don't finish the others," he said. "The release point is not consistent. When you leave the ball up, the ball basically don't have nothing. There's nothing there. No life. And we can't afford that."

Mariano converted his first 18 opportunities of the season before blowing his first one against the Mets on May 28. But with the three blown saves over the last six days, Rivera has now blown five of his past 22 save opportunities. Thanks to the late-inning herpoics of Brett Gardner, however, the Yankees have managed to win two of those three games.

Rivera, who had surgery last June to repair a torn ACL in his right knee, said he is healthy and is having no problems with his arm or his knee. He likened what is happening to him now to a car that needs an occasional tune-up.

"It happens every year," he said. "It happens to everyone, pitchers, hitters, and I'm no exception. Baseball is something you have to keep working on. You can't stop. "You stop when you finish."

-- Derek Jeter is still with the Yankees and was supposed to take some "tee and toss," which means hitting off a tee and taking some swings at underhand servings in the cage, before the game. "Then tomorrow I'm going to do some dry swings," he joked. "In the pool."

Jeter is expected to go to Tampa to continue his rehab when the Yankees leave for Boston Thursday night. Asked if he expected Jeter to be reactivated on August 17, when he is eligible to come off the DL, Joe Girardi said, "I'm not sure."

-- Girardi is sure about Travis Hafner, who has been on the DL since July 27 and was eligible to come off today: He's not ready. "He feels better and he's continuing his rehab," Girardi said. "But he's not ready to do baseball activities yet." Hafner may not return to the team before rosters are expanded on Sept. 1.

-- Tonight's starter, Hiroki Kuroda, is 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in five career starts against the Angels. Since he became a Yankee, Kuroda has started twice vs. the Angels and is 1-0 with a 2.93, but the last time he faced them, on July 13, 2012, Kuroda gave up five runs in 7-1/3 innings and took a no-decision. Angels 1B Mark Trumbo is 3-for-9 vs. Kuroda, and two of those hits are home runs.

-- Angels starter Garrett Richards has faced the Yankees twice (one start) and is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA against them. He made his major-league debut at Yankee Stadium on August 10, 2011, and allowed six runs on six hits in five innings, two of them home runs by Curtis Granderson.
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
.271 16 70 71
OTHER LEADERS
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
WM. Tanaka 13
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146