Mariano Rivera said he has made up his mind about whether he’ll play next season. He won’t announce it right now, but he will announce it before the end of spring training.
“You guys have been patient enough,” Rivera said.
Now 43 years old, Rivera also played coy about his future plans last spring, but his situation changed considerably when he tore his ACL while shagging fly balls in early May. Now Rivera is back and wearing a small knee brace as a precaution. He rated his knee as a 9 out of 10, but said throwing bullpens and going through agility drills will be enough to make him 100 percent by Opening Day.
“I will be at 10 when I’m finished (with spring training),” Rivera said.
It’s obvious that Rivera will do a little more work than normal this spring. It’s unusual for him to throw a bullpen on the first day — he threw 25 pitches this morning — but this wasn’t even his first bullpen of the year. Rivera said he threw some bullpens in New York before flying down here.
Joe Girardi said Rivera will likely throw his regular Grapefruit League among — eight innings or so — but the Yankees might add some simulated games to give him more reps.
“Mo said he’s not going on any road trips,” Girardi said, which means some things certainly won’t change.
Speaking of change: Rivera said he will absolutely continue shagging fly balls during batting practice.
“I don’t want to change,” he said. “I will do whatever it takes to be myself again. I don’t want to be someone that I’m not. I have to be careful? Yeah. I’m always careful. The injury happened because the lord permit it. I have to be ready, and if shagging is part of my routine, then I’ll be doing it. How much? I don’t know, but I’ll be doing it.”
Associated Press photo