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Notes: Mo catches up on some rest
10/13/2004 6:45 PM ET
NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera went through an emotional night on Tuesday, arriving in the second inning of Game 1 of the American League Championship Series and recording the final four outs in New York's win over Boston.

Rivera, who returned from Panama after attending the funeral of two family members earlier in the day, slept until noon on Wednesday, catching up on a sleepless weekend.

"After the game I was hurting," said Rivera, who called his family after nailing down the win. "I enjoyed that we won the game, but I was hurting. Today is better. The sun has come out today. It's better."

Rivera has been lauded by his teammates as one of the most mentally tough people in the game, so his ability to perform at a high level on Tuesday was no surprise.

"He's been the most impressive teammate that I've had in my 10 years in the big leagues," said Alex Rodriguez. "He's a guy we love and feel for. [Tuesday's] performance, I've never seen anything like that."

"I felt like this is home," Rivera said. "This is my family. My brothers, father -- (manager) Joe (Torre), my teammates. And these fans, the way they treated me yesterday, it was special. I can't be thankful enough for what everybody has done for myself and my family. Yesterday was special. I've heard it here before, but yesterday was special."

Rivera's wife, Clara, remains in Panama, dealing with the aftermath of the family tragedy. Rivera said that he has no plans to return home during the Yankees' off day on Thursday.

"It's too long to travel," said Rivera of the five-hour flight. "I don't have the time. I only have one day off. I don't think I can do that. I would love to, believe me."

Torre said that playing in a game can serve as an escape for a player dealing with a family situation, but Rivera said that there was no way to get away from a tragedy like this.

"You can't escape from that, man," Rivera said. "Every minute, every moment that you have by yourself -- alone or even on the field -- it's there. It's there. I don't know. I haven't experienced that before, but now I am. It's tough. It's definitely tough."

Duque on track? Although the Yankees won't announce their Game 4 starter until the workout day in Boston, it looks like Orlando Hernandez will get the nod over Javier Vazquez.


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Hernandez threw a bullpen sessions with pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre on Monday and Wednesday, and Torre said that the right-hander's tired right shoulder felt good on Tuesday, so he hopes for the same report Thursday.

"Duque felt pretty good yesterday," Torre said. "I'm happy that he's had a couple of days in row where it's felt pretty good. Mel said that it was a step up from what he had seen previous times in the bullpen."

"I'm feeling good. I'm waiting until [Thursday]," Hernandez said. "I threw the bullpen very good, but I'm waiting for [Thursday]."

Torre said that the decision for Game 4 won't have anything to do with the result of Game 2, but rather the health and sharpness of Hernandez.

"It's strictly how he's feeling, and us making a decision," Torre said. "He hasn't pitched in a while, so do we want to do this? Certainly one thing working in his favor is the experience factor."

If Hernandez gets the call, Vazquez would be moved to the bullpen for the remainder of the series.

Kenny's back: Torre stuck with the same lineup in Game 2 as he did in the opener, leaving Kenny Lofton in as the designated hitter and Ruben Sierra on the bench.

As he did against Curt Schilling, Lofton has good numbers against Pedro Martinez, hitting .317 in 41 at-bats. Sierra hits .289 in 29 at-bats against Schilling.

"I like Ruben [off the bench] when a situation presents itself," Torre said.

Decision 2004: With David Ortiz coming to the plate in the eighth inning in Game 1, representing the tying run, Torre thought about bringing in Rivera to face the AL MVP candidate with two outs and runners at the corners.

But Tom Gordon, who had already allowed two singles in the inning, had struck out Ortiz in four of their five confrontations, while Rivera had allowed hits in five of 10 at-bats against Ortiz.

"That doesn't mean I'm going to bring in Gordon instead of Mo to pitch to him," Torre said. "But Gordon was in the game, so we decided to stay with him."

Ortiz drilled a triple off the wall in left-center, scoring two runs to make it a one-run game. Torre then turned to Rivera for the final out in the eighth, as the Yankees went on to win, 10-7.

"I didn't think it was out when he hit it," Torre said, "but when they started going back, it scared the [heck] out of me."

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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