Hours between saves, Mo in top shape
Yankees' closer silences Twins twice in one evening
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Yankees don't often call on Mariano Rivera twice in one day, but the 40-year-old closer left Target Field on Wednesday feeling like he pitched better in his second save opportunity.
Rivera was brought in for the final three outs of the Yankees' 3-2 victory over the Twins, just a few hours after he'd locked down the ninth inning in New York's 1-0 triumph -- the resumption of Tuesday's rain-suspended game.
"There's no time to rest," Rivera said. "I think rest -- I have enough. I'm just going to take the opportunities and help the team as much as I can."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he checked with Rivera in the seventh inning of the night game to gauge the right-hander's availability after he threw 14 pitches in the first game.
"I don't think I threw that many pitches in the first game," Rivera said. "I was ready for the second game."
Nick Swisher's go-ahead home run in the ninth inning gave New York it's 3-2 lead, and then the rush was on to get Rivera ready. Girardi sent out Andy Pettitte to slowly warm up for the ninth inning, never intending to let the left-hander throw a pitch.
When home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora pushed Pettitte along to cease the stalling tactic, catcher Francisco Cervelli briefly stopped to rub something out of his eye, eating up even more time.
"You know that you've got to get him ready, and you know you've got to go through the heart of their lineup still," Girardi said.
Rivera got the job done, retiring Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer and Delmon Young on groundouts for his 10th save. It was a cleaner chance than the afternoon game, when J.J. Hardy seemed to get all of a cutter, only to see Target Field help it die in left fielder Kevin Russo's glove.
"He hit it good," Rivera said of Hardy. "It's great to pitch in a field like that. It's give and take, because other balls will fall in front -- more doubles, more triples. That's the way it is."
Bizarre putout elicits smirks from Yanks
MINNEAPOLIS -- Alex Rodriguez had to cover his face with his glove to hide the fact that he was laughing at Yankees reliever Dave Robertson, who had just been an unwilling participant in one of the most painful 1-5 putouts you'll ever see.
The play occurred in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 1-0 victory over the Twins, the resumed contest from the previous night's rain suspension. Joe Mauer scorched a line drive back through the middle, and the ball struck Robertson and shot right to A-Rod, who caught it on the fly for an out.
"It was scary at first, then it was funny," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "He didn't know Al caught it. He was looking all over the place. I mean, it wasn't funny until you saw he was OK."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he was not planning on using Robertson in Wednesday's second game anyway. Robertson hurled 1 2/3 innings before yielding to Joba Chamberlain with a runner aboard in the seventh.
"He actually took the line drive off his back," Girardi said. "I've got to imagine, as the day goes on, he's going to stiffen up. I probably wouldn't use him anyway tomorrow. But he's OK."
Jump-throw part of Jeter's aura
MINNEAPOLIS -- No matter how many times Derek Jeter ranges a few steps to his right and uncorks a throw to first base, the play always seems to look pretty -- and is a staple of what Jeter will be remembered for defensively when his career is over.
But when Jeter does it right, as the shortstop did in the sixth inning of Wednesday's 1-0 victory over the Twins, even he is still able to take a few notes of satisfaction. Jeter's strong throw saved at least one run when he retired Delmon Young to end the frame, stranding two men aboard.
"It's not second-nature," Jeter said. "It's not like that's an easy play to make. I work on it, and sometimes the opportunity comes up. It's not like that play is a given. I think a lot of times, people expect you to make it, but it's not easy."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he never gets tired of seeing the Jeter jump-throw.
"He's made it as good as anyone I've ever seen," Girardi said. "It's an impressive play. Delmon Young, I know he's not Denard Span, but he still runs pretty good."
Jeter said that he couldn't select which he'd enjoyed more -- the defensive play or his solo home run off Brian Duensing, which proved to be a game-winner.
"I just want to have good at-bats where you feel comfortable," Jeter said. "I've felt pretty comfortable the last few games. There was a stretch there where I wasn't getting a lot of hits where I felt comfortable. Some days, it was not as good, but you just want to have consistent at-bats."
No timetable for Aceves' return
MINNEAPOLIS -- Yankees reliever Alfredo Aceves was seen on Wednesday by team physician Christopher Ahmad in New York, and after the right-hander's latest recurrence of lower back discomfort, the team had no projected date for his return.
Aceves had to cut short a throwing session on Tuesday after only a few tosses at the club's Minor League complex in Tampa, Fla., and he returned to New York, where he was tabbed for a rehabilitation program that will not yet include throwing.
"Backs are tricky," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We really don't know. The fact that he's not throwing for a while kind of clues us in [that his return] is not going to be right away."
It was not coincidental that the Yankees moved on Wednesday to sign free-agent right-hander Chad Gaudin, who had been released by the Athletics after attending Spring Training with New York this year.
Aceves told reporters recently that he has been informed that he has a bulging disc in his lower back, and Girardi confirmed that on Wednesday. Girardi's playing career ended in part because of back problems, and he said that Aceves will have to continue to stay on top of his issue.
"Once you're a back patient and you're involved in back rehab, you're always involved," Girardi said. "It's never going to be a time where you're not doing anything for it, and I can tell you that from experience."
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.