If yesterday was the final time Mariano Rivera participates in the first day of pitchers and catchers, the Yankees’ closer did it with a brace on a surgically repaired right knee, which he may wear during the season, and a bounce in his step.
Rivera said he has decided what 2014 will deliver, but didn’t reveal that following a 25-pitch bullpen session that was followed by fielding ground balls on a mound and covering first base on another diamond.
“I won’t give it up until I am ready,’’ the 43-year-old Rivera said about his decision. “I will tell you guys when the moment is right.’’
Rivera said that could come in a day or a week. Asked if he will reveal his decision before the April 1 opener against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, Rivera replied, “Definitely.’’
Last February, Rivera also said he had made up his mind and would reveal it “when I think I should tell you.”
He never made the public proclamation and then tore his ACL in early May while shagging fly balls in Kansas City during batting practice. That wasn’t going to be the way baseball’s all-time saves leader (608) was going to go out.
Outside of what appeared to be a very slight gimp jogging from one mound to another late in yesterday’s program, Rivera and his surgically repaired right knee looked fine.
He ran in the outfield, threw 25 bullpen pitches to catching prospect J.R. Murphy, fielded sponge balls hit by David Wells on the mound and participated in pitcher’s fielding drills.
When it was over, Rivera flashed the trademark smile.
Asked to rate how the knee feels on a scale of one to 10, Rivera said it was a lot closer to the top of the scale than the bottom and would be at the ceiling soon.
“I feel good. I would say around nine for sure,’’ Rivera said. “The other point, the 10 [will come] from the running I do here, the ground balls and covering first base. I will be at 10 when I pitch.’’
Feeling good, Rivera not telling whether he’ll retire
New York Post | Feb 14