Yankees' Rivera throws 1st simulated game

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has thrown 18 pitches in his first simulated game since knee surgery last year.

The 43-year old Rivera pitched one inning against Yankees' minor-league players on Thursday. He also fielded bunts and covered first base.

Rivera pitched in nine games last year, his season ending when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while tracking down a fly ball during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3. He had surgery on June 12.

Rivera is a 12-time All-Star with 608 saves in the regular season and 42 in the postseason.

Ace CC Sabathia, likely to start the regular-season opener, threw 46 pitches over two innings during his initial simulated game. The left-hander had offseason left elbow bone spur surgery.