TAMPA, Fla. -- Things are beginning to feel normal again for closer Mariano Rivera, who is having little difficulty sliding back into his dominant routine.
Saying that he felt "outstanding" on a chilly Wednesday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field, Rivera needed just nine pitches to navigate through a breezy fifth inning, inducing three ground-ball outs while shattering two bats.
"Bat companies love him," manager Joe Girardi said. "I do, too."
Rivera was most pleased by the last pitch he threw, which was rapped on the ground to first base by Domonic Brown. Rivera covered first base, but Juan Rivera fielded the ball for an unassisted putout.
"The last pitch, going to first base, that's what I want," Mariano said. "Attacking, moving, I felt good. Real good."
Rivera said that his surgically repaired right knee felt normal during the outing, but he wasn't prepared to proclaim himself fully recovered just yet.
"A few more outings. I want to throw more pitches," he said. "I'm getting there."
Pettitte calls debut 'something to work on'
TAMPA, Fla. -- Andy Pettitte didn't turn in as clean of an outing as he would have liked, but for his first outing of the spring, it went well enough.
The veteran left-hander limited the Phillies to one run on three hits in a 58-pitch outing on Wednesday, logging three innings in the Yankees' 6-2 Grapefruit League victory. Pettitte struck out three but also walked three, including the last two he faced.
"Stuff-wise, I didn't feel great," Pettitte said. "I felt like my command wasn't anywhere near where I wanted, but it's good. It gives you something to work on for the next time out.
"Other than that, I got through it, I felt good. I was good and tired the last inning I went out there. I was pretty cooked, but we wanted to get to 60 pitches, and we did that."
Pettitte's preparation for the season had been limited to bullpen sessions and batting practice until Wednesday's debut. His next outing, on Monday's off-day, is likely to be against Minor League hitters at the club's Himes Avenue complex.
Yankees option three to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
TAMPA, Fla. -- The Yankees made three roster moves before Wednesday's game, optioning outfielder Zoilo Almonte, infielder Corban Joseph and right-hander Adam Warren to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Almonte, 23, had been mentioned as a dark horse in the outfield competition following Curtis Granderson's Feb. 23 injury, and manager Joe Girardi suggested that the Yankees aren't done evaluating the young switch-hitter this spring.
"We'll probably bring him back and forth to play some more, and we'll continue to look at 'Z' some," Girardi said. "But you've got to have enough games to play to make a decision. So as guys' at-bats start to get taken away a little bit, they can play in some Triple-A games and come back and forth."
The Yankees now have 49 players in camp -- 25 pitchers, three catchers, 11 infielders, nine outfielders and one designated hitter.