Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Joe Girardi plans to call Rivera about coming back one more year

Mariano Rivera's farewell tour has been one of the far and few highlights of the Yankees rough and tumble 2013 season but now, it sounds like manager Joe Girardi wants his Hall of Fame closer to leave his pile of swag in its wrappers and come back for one more year.

Girardi will give Rivera time to settle into retirement before reaching out, he stressed Tuesday night.

“I would just say to Mo, think about it, and make sure,” Girardi said. “Just to make sure that that’s exactly what you want to do. And if it’s what you want to do, I respect it. As good as you’ve been, I still think you can probably do it.”

The manager will not lobby Rivera to return, Girardi said after Tuesday’s 6-4 victory over the White Sox, when Rivera chalked up his 40th save of the season. He merely wants to make sure Rivera’s “heart’s right when he decides it’s time.”

The 43-year-old Rivera announced during spring training that his 19th season with the Yankees would be his last.

"I told you guys already. I don't know why we're talking about this. I've already made my decision [to retire at the end of the season]," Rivera said Tuesday night after pitching a 1-2-3 ninth inning. "Joe can do whatever he wants. That’s fine. I don’t tell him what to do. Other than that, I already made my decision in spring training."

Rivera is still a premier closer and has now collected 40 or more saves in nine seasons, tying the all-time record held by Trevor Hoffman. For his part, he appears to have little interest in coming back in 2014. He has admitted he planned to return after 2012, before a torn ACL altered his timetable.

So far, Rivera has offered no sign that he's eased up on that stance. The Yankees plan to honor him before their home game with the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 22.

Girardi respects that. He says Rivera has given no indication he might change his mind. “I believe he’s going to retire,” he said.

He also understands the lure of the game —post retirement.

“Knowing how hard it is to take your uniform off,” he said, “you don’t ever want to think, you know, in my mind as a player, and I’m not speaking for Mo, but I never wanted to think ‘Could I have played a little bit more?’”

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