Yanks' Rivera arrives late to an ovation

Torre to confer with closer, back from Panama funeral

ALCS notebook



NEW YORK - Mariano Rivera arrived at Yankee Stadium yesterday at 8:53 p.m., 33 minutes after the first pitch in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

It was the second inning, and Rivera remained in the New York Yankees' clubhouse, as is his custom.

Rivera typically spends the first five innings of a game in the clubhouse, studying the game on TV to get a feel for the umpire's strike zone and the hitters" tendencies.

When he reached the bullpen in the bottom of the fifth inning, the crowd erupted in cheers and Rivera received a series of hugs from his fellow relievers.

The Yankees had a 6-0 lead, so it looked like Rivera wouldn't be needed, but the Boston Red Sox rallied and Rivera entered in the eighth inning. He came to the stadium after flying back from Panama, following the funerals for two of his relatives who were electrocuted while cleaning his pool on Saturday.

Yankees manager Joe Torre said he and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre would speak with Rivera to see where he was at mentally before putting him into the game.

"I'm sure what he's been going through since he came off the mound on Saturday, this would be a place to really get away from the sadness that he's experienced.

"Again, we'll obviously see him before we make that decision. I don't need to have him the perfect 100 percent because he's pretty darned good even if [he's not 100 percent]."

Martinez keeps quiet

Pedro Martinez declined to participate in the customary news conference for the next game's starting pitcher yesterday. The Red Sox sent the affable Kevin Millar in his place, and he repeatedly filled the room with laughter.

Millar said it would be unwise for anybody to underestimate Martinez heading into Game 2. After losing four straight regular-season starts for the first time in his career, Martinez held the Anaheim Angels to three runs in seven innings to win Game 2 of the Division Series.

"Pedro is one of the best big- game pitchers out there." Millar said. "We have as much confidence in him as ever. ... I would not want anybody on the mound in Game 2 other than Pedro Martinez - because I'm his daddy."

That comment was made in reference to Martinez's now infamous quote after getting clobbered by the Yankees on Sept. 24: "What can I say? I just tip my hat and call the Yankees my daddy."

Martinez gave up 14 runs in two September starts against New York this year, losing both times, and he also surrendered a 5-2 eighth-inning lead in Game 7 of last year's ALCS.

Hernandez progresses

The Yankees will go with Jon Lieber in Game 2, and Kevin Brown in Game 3, and Torre said he would wait until tomor row in Boston to announce whether Orlando Hernandez will be his Game 4 starter.

Hernandez tested his ailing right shoulder in a 60-pitch mound session Monday.

'Everything seems to be fine." Torre said. "You know everything I know right now, but the good news is he feels good."

Yankees vs. Red Sox(New York leads series 1-0)

Last night: N.Y. 10, Boston 7

Tonight: Boston (Martinez 16-9) at New York (Lieber 14-8), 8:19 p.m., chs. 45, 5

Friday: N.Y. (Brown 10-6) at Boston (Arroyo 10-9), 8:19 p.m.

Saturday: New York (Hernandez 8-2 or Vazquez 14-10) at Boston (Wakefield 12-10), 8:10 p.m.

*Sunday: New York at Boston, 8:15 p.m.

*Tuesday: Boston at New York, 8:19 p.m.

*Next Wednesday: Boston at New York, 8:19 p.m.

* if necessary

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