Q&A with NY 29th Round Pick Mariano Rivera Jr

Rivera says he's his own person; not his dad

We sat down with Yankees' 29th round pick, Mariano Rivera Jr., for a Draft Day Q&A session. Find out what the right-handed pitcher from Iona University says about his game, how he feels being drafted by the Yankees, what he'll bring to the Yankees organization, and much more.

PinstripesPlus.com: Tell us what is going through your mind after being selected by the Yankees.

Mariano Rivera Jr.: This opportunity is just amazing. I was just so happy that I was able to achieve one of my goals, and a milestone in my life. It felt great.

PinstripesPlus.com: Is it special to be drafted by the team your father played his entire career for?

Rivera: Yeah absolutely. I grew up watching them play, and I was involved with my dad. It's a great opportunity to prove it's a good pick by them.

PinstripesPlus.com: Were you surprised it was the Yankees that selected you? Had you and the Yankees talked much before the draft?

Rivera: No, we didn't speak that much, so I was kind of surprised. But, I always had hope it would be them. It hit me by surprise a little bit.

PinstripesPlus.com: Are you already familiar with some or any of the Yankees personnel? What's your relationship with them like?

Rivera: The players, I know them but beside that really, I'm not really associated with any of them – I don't keep in contact with them.

PinstripesPlus.com: Do you have any idea what the Yankees' organization or farm system is like?

Rivera: No. I have no idea, actually.

PinstripesPlus.com: What type of pitches do you throw and at what speeds?

Rivera: Obviously a two-seam fastball that reaches 91 to 93 – it's been topped at 95. A slider [that's] 84, 85, a splitter at 80, and a curveball at 76.

PinstripesPlus.com: Is there anything you feel you need to work on the most?

Rivera: Just remaining calm and be smarter about the pitch I throw – and throw them with confidence. Not only that but just throwing pitches in different situations, learn hitters better, things like that. I feel like that's what I need to work on right now.

PinstripesPlus.com: Did you have a favorite player growing up, other than any obvious answers?

Rivera: Well besides my dad, my favorite player growing up would have to be Jeter.

PinstripesPlus.com: Who would you compare your stuff to at the Major League level so Yankees' fans can get an idea of what you're like on the mound? Is it your father? And why?

Rivera: Well, I'm like my dad because he is really calm, and I have very similar mechanics as him. So I feel like I'd be like him.

PinstripesPlus.com: What would you say is your best moment in baseball and why?

Rivera: Obviously, when my dad broke the saves record. I was there to support him and I was very proud of him. That was a proud moment for me.

PinstripesPlus.com: What about personally?

Rivera: Personally, just all of this. Being selected in the draft and being a prospect, and this opportunity I have.

PinstripesPlus.com: Are you looking to sign quickly and get your professional career started right away?

Rivera: Well it all depends. The Yankees haven't offered me anything, so…. It depends on what they offer me. I would love to [sign] but I'm going to be a senior the coming year and I would also love to finish school. But it all depends on what they offer me.

PinstripesPlus.com: Do you think the pressures of pitching in New York might be a problem? Do you feel that expectations of you are high, considering the career your father had?

Rivera: People are always going to talk but I can't control that. So, I mean the pressure's not really there. I'm my own person, I'm not my dad and I will never be him – I'm me. So no, there's no pressure there.

PinstripesPlus.com: What was the moment like when you were selected, did you father have anything to say to you?

Rivera: I spoke briefly with my dad the next morning – he said he was happy and he wants me to make my own decisions. That moment I was on the bus heading to Keene to play a game when the local area scout called me and said congratulations. I was happy, but as far as my dad we spoke very briefly – he's happy for me but he said ultimately it's my decision on what I do next.

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