4/1/2013 9:00 P.M. ET
As final season opens, Mo has clear mind
By Bryan Hoch and Adam Berry / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera laughed and said he knew the question was coming. Hours before the Yankees and Red Sox opened their respective regular seasons at Yankee Stadium, the all-time saves leader confirmed that he did indeed shag fly balls in the outfield.
"I was waiting for that one," Rivera said. "Yes, I did. It felt good. I didn't go full strength, but I will at some point. It feels good. I will continue doing it, like I said. I won't change anything. It happened, and you just have to move on."
W: Lester L: Sabathia
It has been a long road back for Rivera from last May 3, when he crumpled to the warning track at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium in pursuit of a batting-practice fly ball, tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament.
The injury interrupted Rivera's plans of retiring after the 2012 season, and he has now made his decision public to call it a career after he and the Yankees are done in '13. Rivera said that what will be his last Opening Day has not felt very different than the others, but he has certainly heard the pleas that have filtered in from the grandstands.
"The fans definitely don't want me to retire," Rivera said. "They want me to continue. Players, not too much interacting; I was in Spring Training on Field 3, so I didn't see them too much. During the season, it might happen. Again, it's a decision that was made based on what I have left, what I need to give, and [I'll] just move on."
Rivera said that he also has not given much thought to what Opening Day will be like for him and the Yankees next season. Rivera has been a staple in pinstripes for nearly two decades, but he promised that when the day that he's not present finally comes, there will be no regrets.
"I can't think about tomorrow," Rivera said. "Next season, I'll be home. I really don't think like that. My mind doesn't go that far. It's in the present and what I have to do now. I don't know about tomorrow. Now is what I have to think, and this is where I am. I have to enjoy this one and see what happens tomorrow."
Jeter plays catch; Hughes works seven frames
TAMPA, Fla. -- Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Phil Hughes spent a few hours at the Yankees' Minor League complex on Monday morning, putting in work at their various stages of injury rehabilitation.
Jeter, who has been resting his surgically repaired left ankle, played catch in the outfield for about eight minutes before heading back inside to work out and receive treatment. He hasn't taken any swings or fielded ground balls at shortstop since acknowledging that he wouldn't be ready for Opening Day.
Jeter hasn't appeared in a game since taking four at-bats in a Minor League game on March 23, and he hasn't played shortstop since March 13. Jeter arrived shortly before 10 a.m. ET and left the complex around 2:30 p.m. without speaking to reporters.
Granderson continued to track fly balls in center field on Monday morning, but he hasn't been cleared to throw. As he left the Yankees' Minor League facility, Granderson said his fractured right forearm was "getting better" and that he was scheduled to undergo follow-up X-rays on Monday afternoon.
On an adjacent field, Hughes took the mound for the Class A Advanced Tampa Yankees in an extended spring game. The right-hander threw seven innings, as planned, and left the complex shortly after Jeter.
Hughes' next start should come for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Saturday, the day he's eligible to come off the disabled list. That would put him in line to join the Yankees' rotation on April 11, if all goes well in his next Minor League outing.
New-look lineup a bit of a puzzle for Girardi
NEW YORK -- Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Monday that he had to put "a little bit more" thought into figuring out how his Opening Day lineup would look this season.
The Yankees' roster does not bear much similarity to those of years past; in fact, just two position players from last season's opener -- second baseman Robinson Cano and outfielder Brett Gardner -- were in the starting lineup for Monday's game against the Red Sox.
Further complicating the issue was that the Red Sox started left-hander Jon Lester and Girardi did not want to stack three left-handed bats at the top of the lineup, so Eduardo Nunez batted second, while Ichiro Suzuki was dropped to seventh.
"You're trying to divide up your lefties a little bit against Lester," Girardi said, "and having some new faces in [Vernon] Wells and [Ben] Francisco, trying to figure out where to put them. So there was a little bit more thought."
Girardi said that shortstop Derek Jeter would have been his first choice to be in the No. 2 spot, but the Yankees' captain is working out in Tampa, Fla., while he tries to recover from left ankle surgery, so Nunez got the nod.
"We've liked the way Nuney has swung the bat," Girardi said. "I didn't particularly want to put three lefties in a row against Lester to start the game. We've liked Gardy's ability to get on base, so I put him in the leadoff spot. And without Jeet, I thought we should put a right-hander in there, and we've liked what Nuney has done."
The Yankees should have a different batting order on Wednesday, when Boston will start right-hander Clay Buchholz, with Ichiro moving to the No. 2 spot.
That lineup will likely include Lyle Overbay at first base, with Kevin Youkilis shifting across the infield to third base. Jayson Nix got the start at third base on Monday.
"Our belief is to go out and win every day," Girardi said. "It's an opportunity for a lot of guys to get some more playing time and to show us what they can do, but I don't think you ever think about that. I think that's a negative thought. Go out and win every series."
Yanks, Red Sox united in honoring Newtown
NEW YORK -- The Yankees and the Red Sox joined together on Opening Day to dedicate Monday's game to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, their families and the greater community of Newtown, Conn.
Pregame ceremonies at Yankee Stadium featured a joint honor guard of Newtown police and firefighters, along with a moment of silence during which a list of the Sandy Hook victims' names were recognized on the center-field video board.
"Just honoring them, being there for them, is outstanding," Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said. "We cannot change what happened. I wish we could. But at the same time, we're trying to bring them a lot of good moments and just trying to take the tragedy away from their minds for a little bit.
"Hopefully, we will have a great game so they can enjoy and we will honor them the right way."
Monday's ceremonial first pitch was thrown by former Yankees outfielder and manager Lou Piniella, while Broadway star Constantine Maroulis performed the national anthem. A moment of silence was also held for former Yankees right-hander Bob Turley, who won the 1958 Cy Young Award and died on Saturday at the age of 82.
The Yankees and Red Sox took the field wearing special ribbons on their uniforms to honor those lost and affected by the Dec. 14, 2012, Newtown tragedy. The ribbons were also painted on the field in front of both dugouts, and Commissioner Allan H. "Bud" Selig has asked the other 28 Major League teams to follow suit in wearing the ribbon during their respective Opening Day games.
"I think it's important to say thank you," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The town of Newtown went through so much during the last four or five months, and you think about being a responder. Sometimes we don't think about what they go through and how important they are during a situation like that.
"I think it's nice that we're getting an opportunity to say thank you for all that you do, because they're obviously going to do more as the future goes on."
On July 7, approximately 3,000 children, families and members of the Newtown community will be invited to celebrate summer recess by attending the Yankees' 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Orioles. The date will be proclaimed "Newtown Day at Yankee Stadium."
• Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira had the protective brace removed from his right wrist on Monday and said that he has been cleared to begin light upper-body workouts. Teixeira, who is sidelined with a partially torn ECU tendon in his wrist, said that he is "very encouraged" and hopes to resume swinging a bat after his next checkup in about 10 days. The Yankees are optimistic Teixeira can return at some point in May.
• David Phelps threw 33 pitches in a 1 1/3-innings relief appearance during Monday's 8-2 loss to the Red Sox, but he continues to be listed as the Yankees' probable starter for Saturday against the Tigers. Girardi said that he used Phelps because of the righty's prior experience out of the bullpen and success against both left-handed and right-handed hitters.
• Francisco Cervelli did not know that he was going to be the Yankees' Opening Day catcher until he arrived at Yankee Stadium on Monday. Girardi said that he anticipates "a fairly even split" between Cervelli and Chris Stewart for at least the first month of the season, and that it will be an ongoing process to figure out how to balance the duties.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.