Mariano Rivera throws 1st batting practice

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TAMPA, FLA. (AP) - Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has taken another step toward pitching in his first spring training game this year.

Rivera threw 35 pitches during his first batting practice session Wednesday. He didn’t rule out pitching on Sunday, while manager Joe Girardi said Sunday or next Wednesday would likely be the right-hander’s debut.

“It was good, very good,” Rivera said. “I threw my pitches. Tried to hit my spots.”

The 41-year-old has taken a slower approach recent years. He faced Ronnie Belliard, who has missed the past week with a calf injury, Justin Maxwell and Bradley Suttle in the BP session.

Rivera was 3-3 with a 1.80 ERA and 33 saves in 38 chances last season. The 11-time All-Star has 559 regular-season saves, second to Trevor Hoffman’s 601, and a record 42 in the postseason.

Jesus Montero, bidding for the backup catcher spot behind Russell Martin, caught Rivera.

Rivera agreed to a $30 million, two-year contract in December.

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