ANAHEIM -- Within a span of 24 hours, Austin Romine went from pulling his baseball equipment out of boxes in Kentucky to catching perhaps the greatest closer of all time.

The rookie's whirlwind day completed with his shin guards on as Mariano Rivera recorded career save No. 599 in the Yankees' 6-5 victory over the Angels.

"He's one of the best closers in the game," Romine said. "It's a tremendous honor, and I'll remember that forever."

Romine figured his season was done after wrapping up the year with four games at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, but the Yankees found themselves suddenly short on catching when both Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli went down with injuries.

Unable to get through to Romine, Yankees manager Joe Girardi went to the home clubhouse and found Romine's older brother, Andrew, an infielder with the Angels, to find a better phone number to try.

"It didn't really set in -- it still hasn't set in," Romine said. "I've been on a plane, a car. I've been going non-stop since I woke up at 4:30 this morning, so I'm sure it will settle in on the bus or on the plane."

The son of former big leaguer Kevin Romine, Austin grew up about 10 minutes away from Angel Stadium in Lake Forest, Calif.

Romine said he had close to 30 friends and family members in the seats on Sunday to see his big league debut, not to mention one relative wearing an Angels uniform in the opposing dugout. Romine nearly got to bat but was left on deck when Robinson Cano struck out to end the eighth inning.

"I'm really happy for my family to be able to see both my brother and I playing big league ball together, and to play in front of my hometown," Romine said. "It's just a great moment for my family and my friends."

The Yankees were hurriedly packing their clubhouse for travel to Seattle, where they'll continue their trip on Monday, but Romine said he got some time for a brief exchange with his older brother before leaving.

"He's not a man of many words," Romine said. "He just patted me on the back and said, 'Good job.' Big brother, that means a lot."

Montero gets first start at catcher with Yanks

ANAHEIM -- Jesus Montero's first catching assignment in the Major Leagues was a tough one, as the 21-year-old rookie had to handle an Angels team that likes to move on the basepaths.

Montero caught 88 games this season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre but spent most of Sunday morning making a quick study of the Angels' scouting reports, pressed into duty as starting catcher Russell Martin mends a bruised right thumb suffered on Saturday.

"I was a little nervous [for] the first time, but after that, I was like, 'Let's work,'" said Montero, who went 0-for-3 in New York's 6-5 win over the Angels. "When I got to home plate and I threw the first ball to the pitcher, I was fine."

The Angels tested Montero quickly and he responded, throwing out Alberto Callaspo stealing in the second inning.

Montero had caught Sunday's starter, Freddy Garcia, in a bullpen session at Fenway Park on his first day in the big leagues. But manager Joe Girardi said that certainly wasn't part of any master plan that would have Montero catching in a game.

"I thought he did OK," Girardi said. "There's balls going every which direction when you catch Freddy. Some of his splitters are going straight down, left, right. I thought he did a good job, to be thrown into that situation."

With catcher Francisco Cervelli heading back to New York for further concussion testing, Girardi said that the Yankees' catching tandem for Monday in Seattle will likely be Montero and Austin Romine, who was added to the roster for Sunday's game and made his Major League debut.

Girardi said that the Yankees may be without Cervelli for at least the rest of their current road trip, but he hopes Martin's thumb will heal enough for him to catch on Tuesday at Seattle. Girardi said that despite catching six good innings on Saturday, 40-year-old veteran Jorge Posada remains an emergency option.

"Russell is probably day to day; I don't know if we'll have him [Monday]," Girardi said. "My hope is that we'll have him Tuesday. We'll have to wait and see.

"Montero's going to catch, Romine's going to catch, depending on how long Russell is out. Jorgie, I can use in case of an emergency, like last night. I thought he did a really good job for us last night. We've got to get Russell back."

While acknowledging the pressure Montero faces as a highly touted prospect, Posada expressed confidence in the rookie.

"I think he's a kid that, no question about it, has got a lot riding on his shoulders," Posada said. "He's doing a heck of a job hitting, so now, it's time for him to catch a little bit."

For time being, Yanks' six-man staff intact

ANAHEIM -- The Yankees may not be able to scrap their six-man pitching rotation after all.

On Sunday, Manager Joe Girardi announced his starters for the Yankees' upcoming series against the Mariners, tabbing Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova for a series that begins on Monday at Safeco Field.

"It's still something that we could possibly change, but now, we've got that doubleheader coming up," Girardi said.

The Yankees have been scheduled to play a day-night doubleheader against the Rays on Sept. 21 at Yankee Stadium, making up an Aug. 14 postponement.

Girardi has talked for weeks about wanting to get from six starters to five, but with the innings totals of pitchers like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia creeping up, he believes an extra day of rest isn't the worst thing.

Even CC Sabathia, who generally prefers to pitch on regular rest, said that he could use an extra day after emptying 119 pitches in six innings on Saturday, according to Girardi.

"I think at times it can be really helpful, especially with some of the guys we've got who are logging more innings than they have in a while," Girardi said. "I think it's beneficial."

Bombers bits

• Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that outfielder Nick Swisher, sidelined with left elbow tendinitis, could take batting practice on Monday at Safeco Field and may be available to play in that evening's game. An MRI exam taken on Swisher's elbow has revealed no structural damage.

• Third baseman Alex Rodriguez, out with a sore left thumb, sat out again on Sunday, the second of the "three or four days" that the Yankees have prescribed off for the three-time American League Most Valuable Player. Rodriguez is 8-for-36 (.222) with two homers and four RBIs in 10 games since returning from right knee surgery.

• Yankees closer Mariano Rivera appeared in his 1,036th game on Sunday, surpassing Trevor Hoffman for sole possession of ninth place on baseball's all-time games pitched list. Jesse Orosco (1,252) holds the all-time record.

• In order to make room on the 40-man roster for catcher Austin Romine, the Yankees designated left-hander Steve Garrison for assignment.