TAMPA, Fla. -- Nobody seems to have a better understanding of what he needs to prepare for the regular season than Mariano Rivera. For the Yankees' closer, that meant throwing 28 pitches to live hitters on Monday.

Rivera looked like he was in midseason form as he worked to a lefty-righty duo of Francisco Cervelli and Chris Dickerson behind George M. Steinbrenner Field, permitting only a couple of hard-hit balls and otherwise giving his outing a thumbs up.

"I wanted to see swings of the batters, what kind of swings they put on the ball, and obviously work the strike zone," Rivera said. "I was happy with it today. I'm optimistic, I feel great. I'll be ready ... I was born ready."

Rivera typically only requires about eight Grapefruit League innings to be prepared for the season. He could get the first of those as early as Sunday, when the Yankees play the Phillies in a split-squad game in Tampa, manager Joe Girardi said.

Yankees reliever Rafael Soriano also pitched in the session, throwing 26 pitches. Girardi said both Rivera and Soriano looked good.

Nunez hit on hand; X-rays negative

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Yankees infielder Eduardo Nunez was hit on the right hand by a pitch in Monday's 9-3 Grapefruit League loss to the Phillies and had precautionary X-rays performed, which were negative.

Nunez was batting in the fifth inning against Philadelphia right-hander Austin Hyatt at Bright House Field when he was hit by an inside fastball. Nunez was diagnosed with a right hand bruise.

"I can move my hand -- a lot of pain, it's bruised -- but I think it's fine," Nunez said. "I hope it's not too many days."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that because of how many small bones can be fractured in the hand, he had some concern about Nunez. Girardi said that Nunez was not scheduled to play on Tuesday against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla.

"When you get hit in the hand, you're always a little bit nervous about that," Girardi said.

Pineda's target weight within reach

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Michael Pineda reported to Yankees camp trying to drop 10 pounds from his 6-foot-7 frame, and the right-hander said he's already about 80 percent of the way to his goal.

Speaking after his Grapefruit League debut, Pineda said he has shed seven to eight pounds and is looking to pare off two to four more before the Yankees begin the season on April 6.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Pineda's weight -- the hurler said that he reported around 290 pounds -- is not a major concern, and that he has not been restricted during the club's workouts.

"When you're trying to shed a few pounds, you don't want to shed it all at once, because then you could lose strength and get dehydrated," Girardi said. "We'll get him to where he needs to be."

Girardi said that he was willing to give Pineda a pass for the extra pounds, more so than if a returning Yankees pitcher had reported in the same shape.

"It's all new to him, the expectations and what we expect from him," Girardi said. "Coming in, obviously they had some conversations, but he doesn't really know. There'll be a better understanding as time goes on."

Robertson's command 'just a hair off'

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- David Robertson rocked a pair of old-school stirrups for his first Grapefruit League outing on Monday, and with superstitions being what they are, the new look could be junked if his results don't improve.

"I might try it for a while, but if I have a bunch more [outings] like that, I won't," Robertson said.


Robertson only permitted one run, pitching the third inning in the Yankees' 9-3 loss to the Phillies at Bright House Field, but he said that he felt "very sloppy" in the appearance and told pitching coach Larry Rothschild so.

"I just couldn't make a pitch until I got into a bad count," Robertson said. "It just felt like one of those bad days when you go out there and don't have it. I felt really good, just couldn't find the strike zone."

Saying he felt "just a hair off" and that they would be simple fixes, Robertson added that he was slow to the plate, permitting Jimmy Rollins to steal two bases off him. Catcher Russell Martin didn't have a chance, he said.

"I'm just going to have to quicken up and really get myself game ready," Robertson said.

Bombers bits

• Nick Swisher barked in pain after fouling a ball off his left shin in his sixth-inning at-bat, creating a nice bruise. "First shin-burger of the spring," he said.

• Walks and a hit batsman hurt the Yankees in a six-run sixth inning, with Adam Miller (5 ER in 1/3 IP) absorbing most of the damage, but Girardi said that "you want them to get some outings under their belt before they really start analyzing what they're doing."

• Yankees right-hander George Kontos (oblique strain) has resumed long tossing.