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Yankees' Rivera continues to make progress

THE new ace: R.A. Dickey, left, scrambles home after throwing a wild pitch in the first as Red Sox prospect Jackie Bradley scores. Dickey joins the Blue Jays after winning the NL Cy Young with the Mets in 2012.

Associated Press

THE new ace: R.A. Dickey, left, scrambles home after throwing a wild pitch in the first as Red Sox prospect Jackie Bradley scores. Dickey joins the Blue Jays after winning the NL Cy Young with the Mets in 2012.

SARASOTA — Another batting practice session and it was all "good" once again for Mariano Rivera.

The Yankees closer, who spoke enthusiastically about his first live BP session Friday, threw a 32-pitch one Monday.

"I felt real good," Rivera said. "Location was good. Everything was good. Both (sessions) were good. Can't complain. I did what I wanted to do, and the results were good."

Rivera is wearing a light brace on his right knee, something he will do into the foreseeable future. But he said his surgically repaired knee isn't bothering him in the least. He said he hasn't thought about it at all this spring.

"I don't feel nothing," Rivera, 43, said. "I don't think about it at all. I'm running normal as if nothing ever happened."

Rivera said his next step might be a simulated game, though it could be another live BP. He is unlikely to appear in a game until the first week of March, and Rivera said when he does, it will be the first of eight this spring.

"We have plenty of time," Rivera said. "Eight innings is plenty. It's gone well, and the results are great."

COMPENSATING: With OF Curtis Granderson out 10 weeks with a broken right forearm and 3B Alex Rodriguez rehabilitating from hip surgery, the Yankees are missing plenty of power, and manager Joe Girardi was blunt: Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera, two possibilities to replace Granderson, aren't power hitters.

"We've talked about we're probably not going to hit as many home runs as we did last year," Girardi said after a 5-1 loss to the Orioles. "We have more speed, so the guy that fills in is going to be another speed guy, and you score runs more that way. We're going to have to rely on our speed more, no doubt about it. How this guy, whoever he is, fits in, we'll have to see. We really don't know."

Jays: Dueling knucklers

DUNEDIN — The knuckleball fraternity was in full force for Monday's game between the Blue Jays and Red Sox.

NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey gave up two runs and four hits in his Toronto spring debut while fellow knuckleballer Steven Wright pitched two scoreless innings for a Boston split squad in a 4-2 win over the Blue Jays.

"You don't see that too often," Toronto manager John Gibbons said of seeing two starters tossing knucklers.

Wright, a minor-leaguer, and Dickey have communicated by phone and text message in the past. Wright sent a message to Dickey when he arrived for the game.

"He texted me right before the game," Dickey said. "There just wasn't time to connect, so I'll have to connect with him, hopefully, when he pitches in the big leagues for the Red Sox."

Dickey was planning to text his Boston counterpart postgame.

"I think he pitched really well," Dickey said. "I'm pulling for him, of course. I know how hard it is."

Phils: Papelbon battered

CLEARWATER — Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon struggled to get anyone out in his first action of the spring.

The five-time All-Star faced nine batters in the fifth inning of a 10-1 loss to the Tigers, retiring two before being removed from the game.

"Papelbon got a nice little ERA today," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I'm not worried about Papelbon."

Papelbon's path to an 81.00 ERA included a monstrous three-run home run by reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera that cleared the Phillies' bullpen beyond the leftfield fence. Two batters later, Papelbon was pulled. He gave up six runs on five hits and two walks. The right-hander also struck out two.

"I felt good," said Papelbon, who wasn't worried about the results. "I'm more concerned about repeating my delivery, throwing the ball out front. That's really it for me. Everything else kind of falls by the wayside and will come as spring goes on."

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Yankees' Rivera continues to make progress 02/25/13 [Last modified: Monday, February 25, 2013 10:48pm]

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