Mariano Rivera’s season ended during batting practice last May 3, the closer writhing in pain on the outfield warning track. Friday, the future Hall of Famer was back at BP, although this time he was all smiles.

Rivera stepped on to the mound at Steinbrenner Field Friday morning, throwing his first live batting practice of the spring.

Facing minor leaguers Rob Segedin and Kyle Roller, Rivera told the pair of 24-year-old infielders to swing. Segedin took the first pitch, prompting Rivera to bark out, “Strike!”

The next pitch came in and Segedin watched it whiz into Bobby Wilson’s glove.

“That’s a strike, too,” Rivera said.
Segedin made good contract with Rivera’s third pitch, lining the ball into right-center, much to Andy Pettitte’s delight.

“That’ll shut him up,” quipped Pettitte, who was watching from the dugout after throwing a live BP session of his own.

Rivera threw 25 pitches during the session, the first time he has faced hitters since tearing his right ACL last May. The legendary closer said he “felt real good,” and although it was only a routine batting practice, it marked another step in his return from the knee injury.

“It feels good to be on the mound and see some guys there,” Rivera said. “The first BP that I threw in almost a year. I’m really happy with the results. It will get better. The longer I keep throwing, it will get better.”