Back in February, Mariano Rivera was leaving hints with reporters that the 2012 season would be his last with the New York Yankees.
According to the New York Times, Rivera said he had made an “irrevocable” decision about whether this season, his 18th, would be his last. Rivera said he would announce his decision later in the year.
Suddenly, after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament and the meniscus in his right knee while chasing down a fly ball in batting practice at Kansas City on Thursday, the decision may have been made for the man many consider the game’s greatest closer.
He insists that it’s not over yet for him. “I don’t think going out like this is the right way,” Rivera said, according to an Associated Press report in the Washington Post. “I don’t want to retire because I got hurt in the way that it happened. With the strength of the Lord, I just have to continue.”
Rivera has been chasing fly balls in batting practice for 20 years. WSJ.com reported that on Thursday, Rivera’s foot caught in the space between the end of the grass and the warning track, and the knee twisted.
USA Today reports that some of Rivera’s most impressive statistics were recorded in the post-season. The man who has 608 career saves also recorded 42 of them in post-season play.
He also has an 0.70 earned run average and 1051 appearances, in the post-season, all with the Yankees.
Rivera was told by New York Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek that he should be able to work out again in about five months. Rivera said the swelling in his knee will have to go down before he can undergo surgery.
Alex Rodriguez said, according to an Associated Press report on Fox News, “We need his presence and his leadership. He promised me that he’s going to be around as much as possible and I’m going to hold him to that.”