TAMPA, Fla. -- Mariano Rivera pounced off the mound to grab a slow roller, straightened and fired a strike to first base. If not for endless replays of that afternoon gone wrong in Kansas City last year, you'd never suspect there was anything out of the ordinary.
The Yankees closer smoothly fielded two bunts and a grounder and also covered first base during an 18-pitch simulated inning on Thursday morning. Rivera said that his next step will be to prove his surgically repaired right knee passes the test in game action.
"It feels good. It feels real good," Rivera said. "That's what I wanted to do, field some bunts, go after some balls in between first and the mound and just plant and throw. That's perfect."
Rivera said there is no exact plan to get into a spring game, though with a month left to go in Spring Training, the Yankees don't feel any particular urgency to hurry the 43-year-old all-time saves leader.
"There is no real timetable, in a sense," manager Joe Girardi said. "We just go day by day to see how he's doing. I expect he'll throw another simulated game and then we'll evaluate after that. You're just able to control it.
"For me, he's getting his work in. He's facing right-handers and left-handers; we can bunt on him. We can force a bunt on him and make him do some things, so he knows that he's comfortable doing those things."
Yankees ace CC Sabathia said that Rivera looked crisp as he worked to a group of Minor League hitters on a back diamond of the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex.
"He looked good, which I expected," Sabathia said. "He's throwing the ball right where he wants to, and for him to be able to do that in February is amazing."
Sabathia threw 46 pitches over two simulated innings on Thursday and said he is getting "antsy" to appear in a game. Sabathia is coming off surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow in October.
"It feels good; no problems," Sabathia said. "I'm excited. I don't have that little pain in there anymore, and I'm getting used to not dealing with that."
Girardi said that Sabathia will throw a simulated game on March 5. Though that would line Sabathia up to start in a Grapefruit League game on March 10, the Yanks might skip that start, too, because New York is facing the division-rival Blue Jays that day.
"I think CC knows how to get prepared," Girardi said.
Pettitte's 18-year-old son throws a no-hitter
TAMPA, Fla. -- Andy Pettitte said that he might have thrown one no-hitter in his life, probably around age 10 or 11 before he advanced to Pony League ball. What the Yankees lefty knows for sure is that his son just threw one, and he couldn't be more proud.
Josh Pettitte fired a 10-strikeout, one-walk masterpiece in tournament play last week for Deer Park (Texas) High School against Boerne Champion High, and his big league father said that the young right-hander has been taking his success in stride.
"I just said, 'Way to go, that's pretty cool,'" Pettitte said. "He was laid-back about it. He actually seemed more excited a couple of days later when he called me and he got the game-winning hit in the sixth inning with two outs. When I called him about the no-hitter, he was like, 'Yeah, I felt pretty good.'"
Pettitte, 18, has committed to Baylor University. The elder Pettitte said that his son was throwing around 84 mph last summer, which was a tick low for Division I play, but his frame is filling out and he is now lighting up radar guns around 88 mph.
"It's cool. It really is," Pettitte said. "It's exciting, and I'm excited for him. He's worked hard, and for him to be your kid and see how he has developed over the last year -- last summer, when a lot of his friends and peers were getting looks from Division I colleges, that's what he wanted."
Josh Pettitte often joins the Yankees during the season and has served as a batboy on select road trips. He told FOX Sports Southwest that his father sends him a text message before every game, and that Andy's experience has been valuable in breaking down his own performances.
"We'll talk about pitch sequences and what he would have done," Josh said. "It's pretty good to talk to him about this stuff, because he knows what he's talking about. He's one of the most mentally tough players there is out there. We talk about the mental parts of the game."
Scouts from professional teams have been showing up at Pettitte's games, and the Yanks veteran said that he will not dissuade his son from signing with a big league organization if he is selected in this June's First-Year Player Draft.
"I've got to leave the door open," Pettitte said. "I think we've got him in a real good place right now from the standpoint of, don't worry about the pro stuff right now. He's got scouts at every game watching him pitch, but just go out and pitch, and be yourself.
"I don't want him overthrowing or hurting himself trying to get his velocity up. He's got a great alternative to go play college baseball, and come May he'll probably have to start figuring out if that's something he's interested in. I'm open to it. It's his life, he'll be 19 in November, and I'll definitely talk to him about it."
Rare spring ejection shocks Yanks' Stewart
TAMPA, Fla. -- Yankees catcher Chris Stewart was on the receiving end of some good-natured ribbing in the clubhouse on Thursday after he was thrown out in a rare Spring Training ejection.
Stewart was called out by first-base umpire Marty Foster in the second inning of New York's Grapefruit League game against the Blue Jays. Replays showed that Stewart beat shortstop Jose Reyes' one-hop throw to first base.
After the play, Stewart threw his arms up and pointed twice at Foster, earning the ejection.
"I was shocked," Stewart said. "In the regular season, I'm probably going back and probably figuring out what the whole situation was. In the moment, I hesitated and I thought better of it. I came in the dugout. It wasn't worth it."
Stewart said that he never cursed and thought he only pointed once at Foster, but if he pointed a second time after Foster warned him -- as he did -- then Stewart acknowledged he would've deserved the ejection.
"Everybody's asking me, 'Who gets thrown out in a Spring Training game?'" Stewart said. "Well, it's this guy right now. ... I don't want to be in here after the second inning. I want to be out there on the field seeing pitches, catching my pitchers, getting a feel for them."
• Michael Pineda is continuing to work out at the Yankees' complex, and he is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Friday. Pineda is not expected to appear in a game this spring for the Yankees, but general manager Brian Cashman is hopeful that Pineda could be at the big league level in June.
• Yankees left-hander Boone Logan is scheduled to throw his first batting-practice session on Friday. Girardi said that the team has progressed slowly with Logan because he has had issues with injuries in previous springs.
• Kevin Youkilis (left oblique) fielded ground balls at third base and took batting practice on Thursday. Girardi said he would "sleep on it" to decide if Youkilis would return to the lineup on Friday or Saturday.
• The Yankees have been trying Dan Johnson at third base, considering him for a corner-infield role similar to the one filled in recent years by Eric Chavez. Girardi said Johnson has "done OK so far," but he noted that he hasn't had many plays at the hot corner yet.
• Yankees outfielders Slade Heathcott and Ronnier Mustelier collided in pursuit of Edwin Encarnacion's seventh-inning fly ball on Thursday. Both players spilled to the warning track but were uninjured, and Mustelier caught the ball. Heathcott said, "We kind of fit the other like a puzzle piece."