Despite undergoing minor shoulder surgery after last season, this spring has been pretty typical for Mariano Rivera. As has become his routine in recent years, he doesn’t begin throwing until he gets to camp, and even then he works himself into his full routine. He only pitches in about five games before he’s ready to start the season. So while he’s taking it slow for his rehab, it’s also nothing out of the ordinary. Still, fans have to be just a wee bit anxious to see him get on the mound and test his shoulder. That happened today, and by all accounts Mo’s bullpen session went well.
According to Rivera, via Bryan Hoch, he was at about 90 percent velocity. His command was a bit off, as he missed inside a few times to BP hitters Jesus Montero and John Rodriguez. That’s to be expected at this point, injury or not, as it was Mo’s fourth pitching session of the spring, first with live batters. Afterward, he sounded like a guy on track to start the 2009 season:
“It’s getting stronger,” Rivera said. “Every time I throw, it’s feeling better and better. I have no doubts.”
This should allay any fears at this point. Figure on Mo getting his first game action some time next week — Hoch thinks Monday against the Phillies. He’ll probably go two games a week at that point until the season opens on April 6.
Edwar Ramirez, out since the beginning of camp with shoulder bursitis, threw 30 pitches to live batters as well. He said he felt good as well, though he’s in no position to say otherwise. There’s no word when he’ll see game action, but the sooner the better for him. With plenty of competition for the final four bullpen spots — and Phil Coke is making an emphatic argument for one of them — Edwar needs game action to prove he’s up to snuff.