Mo the Mentor

JUPITER, Fla. -- There are countless rookies and veterans whom Mariano Rivera has mentored over the years. Ivan Nova is one of them -- and it all starts with respect from the first meeting.

“When I [saw] Mariano for the first time, he said, 'Hola,' to me,” Nova said. “I got kind of nervous. I remember when I got called up in Detroit [in 2010]. I remember the way he treated me like I was a veteran guy, too. That make[s] you feel really good.”

Nova struggled in 2012, and Rivera has acted like a leader this spring.

“One of things he told me was that whatever happened to me last year, we cannot let that happen again,” Nova said. “When a veteran like that talks to you that way, it helps you a lot. He is [at a] point in his career where he decides what he is going to do. I respect whatever decision he makes but it is good to have veteran guys like Mariano on the team. If he retires or not, I hope he has a good life.”

Nova, by the way, threw three innings of one-run ball on Thursday as he competes for the Yankees' fifth starting spot.