Friday, May 4, 2012

Mariano Rivera on return: 'I'm not going down like this'

Mariano Rivera showed a lot of emotion after he found out he tore his right ACL last night— after buckling over while shagging a fly ball—  but today Rivera showed why he is the toughest closer in major league history.

The Hall-of-Fame bound pitcher insisted Friday that his career with the New York Yankees is not over.

"I am coming back," Rivera said.  "Put it down in big letters.  I'm not going down like this."

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Mariano's career— never mind the 2012 season— might be over because of the torn MCL and torn meniscus in his right knee but not if the durable Rivera can help it.  The spiritual Rivera has a positive outlook but is putting his return in the hands of a higher power.

"God willing and given the strength, I'm coming back," he said.

Rivera didn't disclose details on when he plans to have surgery but told ESPN, "I'm going to recover from this thing."

When asked why— after a glorious career and holding just about every record for a closer— the 42-year old would want to come back.

"I don't need to prove it to no one," he replied.  "That's just me.  I love the game.  I love to compete."

Rivera suffered the knee injury while shagging fly balls during batting practice before Thursday night's game— a pre-game ritual he's done a thousand times before without incident and said he will do it again.

Rivera spoke by phone with Dr. David Altchek, who told the closer he should be ready to play by spring training in February.

"I love to play this game," Rivera said.  "I don't think, to me, going out like this is the right way. . . I don't think like that.  With the strength of the Lord, I have to continue."

Rivera was in much better spirits today and joked with reporters.

Asked how he knows the Yankees would want him back next year, the free agent-to-be Rivera laughed, " They'll want the old goat."


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