"I feel better today but I think we're going to do another day off,'' Rivera said before the Yankees beat the Indians 9-2 on Tuesday at Progressive Field. "I felt it a little bit. I could pitch, yes, but if they can get by another day, it would be much better. And wiser I would say so.''
Rivera long-tossed with Boone Logan for about 15 minutes on the field, then ran some sprints in the outfield before heading into the clubhouse to consult with Yankees trainer Gene Monahan.
He said he felt the soreness during the throwing session, on both long and short throws.
"I don't remember having soreness there,'' he said. "But I assume I might have, you know. After 17 years of doing this you're going to have some soreness.''
Asked if taking another night off was his decision or Monahan's, Rivera said, "Both. I could pitch tonight, but I don't want to take a chance.''
Rivera said he first felt the soreness, in an area of the triceps just above his right elbow, after pitching an inning and blowing the save in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Mets at Yankee Stadium. Rivera was unavailable on Monday night, and his absence contributed to manager Joe Girardi's decision to stay with starter A.J. Burnett long enough for him to surrender a game-winning three-run home run to Austin Kearns in the seventh inning of what became a 6-3 loss to the Indians.
As he did Monday night, Rivera said he was "not concerned'' about the injury and said that no tests were planned.
"Like I said before, it's gonna happen and it's gonna go away,'' he said. "With treatment and rest it will be fine.''
Rivera has not been on the disabled list since 2003, but underwent shoulder surgery after the 2007 season. He said he would be in the bullpen Tuesday but would not pitch unless it was "an extreme emergency.''
"If they really need me, I could pitch,'' he said. "If something happens where I have to pitch, I'll be there. Let's hope the game doesn't go 20 innings or something.''
The 41-year-old Rivera is 1-1 with a 1.91 ERA this season. He has 21 saves. In his absence, David Robertson will assume the closer's duties.
Rivera has been remarkably durable. He has appeared in 1,013 career games and has only been on the disabled list five times.
"I'm not concerned at all," Rivera said. "It's going to happen and it's going to go away. We'll do treatment and rest."
Also, Girardi said right-hander Phil Hughes will be activated to start Wednesday's game. Hughes has been out since April 15 with shoulder inflammation. He made his last start on April 14, working 4 1/3 innings against Baltimore.
Hughes allowed five runs in each of his three starts before going on the DL. He went 1-0 with a 1.93 ERA in three rehab starts at Double-A Trenton, striking out 18 in 14 innings.
"I felt like I was ready to go and they felt like I was ready, so let's try it," Hughes said Tuesday.
He still does not know what caused him to have what he described as a "dead arm" in each of his April starts.
"I'm not exactly sure what it was, but I know it is fixed and I feel a lot better," he said. "There's not much more I could do on rehab. I know my stuff is there. I just have to execute my pitches."
Wallace Matthews covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.