|ESPN.com: Spring 2013||[Print without images]|
TAMPA, Fla. -- Playing for the first time since injuries ended their 2012 seasons, Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter not only returned to game action together, but they did it in style.
Saturday, after Rivera officially announced he would retire from baseball following the 2013 season, he took the mound for the first time since he tore his ACL last May.
In the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves, the 43-year-old Rivera retired the side in order, striking out the final two batters he faced, Juan Francisco and Chris Johnson. Both looked at third strikes.
|In his first game action since injuring his ankle last October, Derek Jeter smacked the first pitch he saw into left field.|
"It was great to be on the mound again," a smiling Rivera said. "I feel wonderful. Everything went well."
Rivera threw his cutter as hard as 91 mph, while throwing 15 pitches, eight of which were strikes.
Leading off the bottom of the first, Jeter smacked the first pitch he saw from Atlanta Braves lefty Mike Minor into left field for a single.
"It is good to be back out there," Jeter said.
The ensuing batter, Ichiro Suzuki, grounded into a forceout at second. Jeter slid into the base without incident.
In the third, Jeter grounded out to third. He ran hard to first, but said he did not go full-out down the basepath.
Jeter returned from a dislocated ankle, sustained in Game 1 of October's American League Championship Series. After a final checkup earlier this week, he declared his ankle 100 percent healthy on Friday.
"Now, it is just normal spring training," Jeter said.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi likes to be cautious with players returning from injuries. Jeter said he thought he would DH one more game before playing shortstop. Jeter will not play in Sunday's game. He will likely DH again on Monday when the Yankees host the St. Louis Cardinals.
For Rivera, the day began with a 10 a.m. news conference to announce his retirement. He said the only time he nearly got emotional was when he saw all of his Yankee teammates file in.
"What almost got me was seeing the whole team there," Rivera said. "That was wonderful that Joe allowed all the guys to be there. I was shocked."
When he entered in the fifth, the loudspeakers blared with "Enter Sandman" and ended with Rivera looking like he could pitch forever.
"It is wonderful," Rivera said.
Rivera received standing ovations when he came to the mound and when he left after the three outs.
"Those are the most beautiful fans there is in baseball," Rivera said. "You talk about New York Yankee fans, those are great fans."
Rivera said he thought he would next pitch Wednesday night at Steinbrenner Field.