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Girardi: No pressure to use Mo

NEW YORK -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he does not feel any pressure to use Mariano Rivera on Sunday, despite the ceremonies honoring the retiring closer before the game.

"I don't feel necessarily feel a pressure right now to put him in the game because of what lies in front of us," Girardi said. "I might need him five out of six days next week and you hate to make it where we used him six out of eight. So I don't necessarily feel the pressure.

"Will that change as the day goes on? I don't know. But right now I don't because we have to focus on what the ultimate goal is."

Rivera last pitched Friday against the Giants, throwing a perfect inning in a non-save situation. He's thrown 11 innings in September, which is more than he threw in August. Girardi has already used him four times for more than one inning this month as the Yankees have tried to stay in the Wild Card chase. Rivera has only pitched twice since Sept. 12.

The Yankees have an off day on Monday before six straight games to end the season. Girardi said Friday he figured he could use Rivera three days in a row this series if necessary. Rivera did not see the mound Saturday as starter Ivan Nova threw a complete-game shutout.

FOCUS IS THERE: Girardi said he's not worried that Rivera's ceremony and Andy Pettitte's final regular season start at Yankee Stadium will affect his players' focus. Pettitte is also retiring, and if the Yankees don't make the playoffs, this is likely to be his final career home start.

"Our guys understand what we need to do," Girardi said. "If anything, I think it might provide a little bit of excitement.

KURODA ON TUESDAY: Girardi said that Hiroki Kuroda will pitch Tuesday against the Rays. Kuroda last pitched Thursday against the Blue Jays and will be pitching on normal rest.

The off day on Monday allows the Yankees, if they choose, to use Kuroda, CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova on normal rest against Tampa Bay. Using those three would mean the team skips Phil Hughes.

The Yankees currently trail the Rays by 3 1/2 games in the wild-card race. The Rays currently are the first wild-card team while Cleveland is 1/2-game back. The Yankees trail Cleveland by three games.

The Yankees likely need to sweep Tampa Bay to have a legitimate shot at claiming one of the two wild-card spots.