New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera was back on the mound Friday, pitching batting practice to live hitters as he recovers from knee surgery in May.
Rivera, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee chasing a fly ball during batting practice last May 3, said he felt excited after throwing 20 pitches to the Yankees' Kyle Roller and Rob Segedin.
"This is the first BP I'm throwing in almost a year, so I'm real happy with the results." Rivera said, according to ESPN.com.
Rivera, 43, pitched in only nine games last season before underdoing the surgery on June 12. After his session Friday, he said his stuff will get better.
"Basically, I just wanted to see the hitters, seeing how they swing at the ball and how they react to the pitches,'' Rivera said.
Rivera had participated in bullpen sessions and fielding drills before taking the mound for the first time in spring training.
"The big thing now is to do the real thing, covering first base, fielding bunts, all that stuff," he said. "My command, I don't worry about. That's one thing I never worry about. It didn't take no vacation."
Rivera expects to pitch in a spring training game after a few more batting practice sessions.
"I'm not trying to rush at all," he said. "It felt good to see guys up there again, but the one thing I want to do is get in a real game and see how everything responds."
The 12-time All-Star has 608 career regular-season saves.