New York Yankees' Rivera returns to action

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New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera did more than throw on Friday. He also called balls and strikes.

The 43-year old Rivera threw 25 pitches in his first batting practice session since knee surgery last year and said he was happy with the results.

“It feels great to be on the mound,” said Rivera, who expects to throw BP one or two more times. “Basically, just wanted to see hitters. I’m excited. Build up, and we’ll go from there.”

Rivera was limited to nine games last year, his season ending when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while tracking down a fly ball during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3. He had surgery to repair the injury on June 12.

“He looked great,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Looked like what you’d expect him to look like, which is a good thing.”

Rivera is a 12-time All-Star with 608 saves in the regular season and 42 more in the postseason.

NATIONALS: Sarting pitcher Gio Gonzalez learned from the players’ association that he’d passed a Major League Baseball-administered drug test given days after his name was listed in a newspaper report as receiving performance-enhancing drugs from a now-closed anti-aging clinic.

GIANTS: Former Augusta GreenJacket Madison Bumgarner will follow Matt Cain in San Francisco’s starting rotation, though Giants manager Bruce Bochy says there will likely be some shuffling before the end of spring camp.

“We can still tweak it,” Bochy said Friday. “I’ll keep saying that when I look at all five starters, they are all so balanced.”

Ryan Vogelsong starts Saturday’s exhibition opener against a visiting split squad of Los Angeles Angels. Cain will take the ball Sunday, followed by Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito.

PHILLIES: Closer Jonathan Papelbon feels his team lacked leadership last season, and made it known to reporters on Friday.

On the day that the Phillies began exhibition play with an intrasquad scrimmage here, Papelbon, who left the Boston Red Sox for Philadelphia in time for last season, reiterated his stance from earlier in the week that says: “Since I’ve been here, I haven’t seen any leadership.”


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