NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera has had plenty of experience pitching against the Mets. The longtime Yankees closer has recorded 20 saves in 35 2/3 innings against the crosstown rival, with 22 of those innings coming at Shea Stadium and Citi Field.
So on Monday, Rivera decided to give something back to some of the Mets faithful who have watched him throughout his career. As part of his farewell tour, Rivera sat down with a group of Mets fans, longtime season-ticket holders and stadium employees to talk about baseball and the Subway Series.
Rivera fielded questions from more than half of the 18 people in attendance in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda, talking with the group about his career, his plans for life after baseball and his thoughts on the steroid era. He even taught the group the correct way to grip a baseball.
"Playing here for so many years against them, we've had some good times and some tough losses," Rivera said. "But at the same time, it has been great, and [Mets fans] have always been respectful and appreciate what we do."
Of course, Rivera also spent some time talking about his memories of the 2000 World Series against the Mets. But when one fan asked Rivera if he thought former Mets catcher Mike Piazza's deep fly ball in the ninth inning of Game 5 had a chance to leave the park, Rivera was quick to say no.
"As a pitcher, you know," Rivera said, laughing. "When he hit the ball, the ball bit him a little bit, but he gave it the best."
Rivera said this particular leg of his farewell tour had a different feel than some of the other stops he's made this season. All of them have a different personality, he said, and this one was specific to baseball.
"They respect the game and they respect you as a person and they respect what you do," Rivera said. "That makes me feel good."
Joba set to be activated from DL on Tuesday
NEW YORK -- The Yankees plan to activate right-hander Joba Chamberlain from the disabled list before Tuesday's game against the Mets at Citi Field.
Chamberlain threw two innings in an extended spring training game on Saturday in Tampa, Fla., firing 24 pitches and having no effects of the left oblique strain that sent him to the disabled list on May 1.
"If you can throw 95, 96 [mph] at 10:30 in the morning, usually it should be OK," Chamberlain said. "It's one of those things where we wanted to make sure in between the innings, see how it reacted, just in case that would happen. I feel great."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that the team's plan is to restore Chamberlain to his seventh-inning role in the bullpen, and could also use him in the eighth inning on days that David Robertson needs rest.
Girardi indicated that Chamberlain's return would supplement a group that has also received contributions from right-handers Shawn Kelley and Preston Claiborne.
"It just gives us more depth," Girardi said. "With a lot of the close games that we've been in, it's good to have another power arm like that [to] share the workload with."
Tex, Youk on track to return to Yankees soon
NEW YORK -- With Mark Teixeira expected to report to Double-A Trenton on Wednesday and Kevin Youkilis not thought to be far behind, the Yankees may be in position to add reinforcement help to their roster by the upcoming weekend.
Teixeira (right wrist) and Youkilis (back) each had five at-bats on Monday in an extended spring training game in Tampa, Fla., and manager Joe Girardi said that both players are continuing to progress toward their big league return dates.
"As I've said, it's how they feel and when we feel -- and they feel -- that they're ready," Girardi said. "It has to be both sides and not necessarily one."
Girardi said that Teixeira's situation is trickier because he needs to compile both left-handed and right-handed at-bats; Teixeira said he has been generally swinging twice as much from the left side of the plate as the right in simulated games.
Youkilis has had no recent difficulty with his back, but Girardi said he would want to see Youkilis show the ability to play in three consecutive games without incident before activating him.
Girardi also acknowledged that the respective returns of Teixeira and Youkilis would displace contributors like Lyle Overbay and rookie David Adams, but Girardi said it is too soon to begin planning how that will be sorted out.
"I'll continue to take the approach [of] I'll handle it when I have to handle it," Girardi said. "Right now, I've got to focus on the guys in the room. We're hoping that we get these guys back soon, but I'll worry about that when it happens."
• With National League rules in play on Monday and Tuesday at Citi Field, the Yankees will have to pick their spots wisely to use Travis Hafner. The designated hitter is not capable of playing the field, making him essentially a pinch-hitter for one at-bat per night.
"That's a big bat to lose," Girardi said. "That's one of the things that you have to deal with when you're an American League team. ... You look for that one spot, that key spot in the game that you can use him and he really makes an impact."
• Entering play on Monday, the Yankees were 28-18 on Memorial Day since 1971, when the holiday first began to be celebrated on the last Monday in May. They are 7-4 on Memorial Day since 2000, and this marks the first time the Yankees have played an Interleague game on Memorial Day.
• Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson (fractured left fifth metacarpal) is scheduled to see a hand specialist on Tuesday in New York to better determine his timetable for recovery. Early estimates have indicated that Granderson will miss at least four weeks.
• Left-hander Francisco Rondon, designated for assignment on Friday, has been outrighted to Double-A Trenton.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. Josh Vitale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.