The New York Yankees may be struggling in spring training, but the team got a lift when future Hall of Famers Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter returned from the injuries they suffered last season for their debuts.
Their presence did not stop the Yankees from losing 2-1 to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday and dropping to 3-11 in their exhibition games thus far.
But both players performed well in their debuts. Jeter went 1-for-2 with a single, and Rivera struck out two batters without allowing a hit during his lone inning on the mound.
Still, the team is being cautious with its aging stars. Jeter did not play his usual shortstop position and was instead used as the designated hitter. However, he felt good about his outing, with the Associated Press recap (via ESPN.com) of the game quoting him saying, "Everything was fine. It's good to get back into a game. Now, it's normal spring training. Get more and more comfortable."
Rivera’s comeback is more surprising. He is 43 years old and had surgery on his knee on June 12, putting him just nine months out from the operation.
The veteran closer does not appear to be wasting time preparing for the season, which he recently announced would be the final one of his illustrious career.
With the two players who defined the Yankees during the Steinbrenner era back in the lineup, the Yankees will hope to start looking better in their spring training games.