Mariano Rivera is 43 years old. He missed nearly all of last season with an injury, the Yankees have limited his workload throughout this season, and he went into last night’s game having thrown 74 pitches in the past four days. In most any circumstance he would have been unavailable.
Instead, he threw 10 pitches to close out a one-run win.
“Obviously you’re going to feel some bumps and bruises,” Rivera said. “It’s not like I’m Superman or something like that. At the same time it’s something that you can handle, something you can pitch with. As long as it feels like that, it’ll be OK.”
Joe Girardi is notorious for limiting his pitchers’ workload. He gets heat for it from time to time, but he seems to have basically thrown out the rule book — rule binder? — in the past week or so. Or, at least, he’s thrown out the section about Rivera.
“That’s why we do it the whole year so these guys are rested down the stretch,” Girardi said. “That’s my belief, and sometimes you’ve got to call on them a little bit more in September and October, but that’s why I do the things that I do the first five months of the year so they’re not fatigued when we get to that point.”
There have been nights when Rivera’s looked fatigued. And there have been nights like last night when he’s looked as good as ever.
Even at a time like this, Rivera has his limits. It’s unlikely he or Dave Robertson will be available for tonight’s series opener in Boston — “Probably not,” Girardi said — but at this point, who knows? Rivera’s not holding anything back, and neither are the Yankees.
“You’ve got to do what you have to do,” Rivera said. “There’s no time to look back or sit around. We’re fighting for something. As long as we’re OK, we have to continue.”
Associated Press photo