Mariano Rivera has been diagnosed with a torn ACL after injuring his knee while warming up during batting practice. The New York Yankees are calling the report preliminary and have said that Rivera will meet with team doctors for a second opinion. Still, it looks as if Rivera will be lost for the year, leading many to question if the all-time saves leader is done for good.
Rivera sustained the injury while he was shagging fly balls in the outfield while his teammates were taking batting practice. Rivera’s knee buckled after he slipped on the warning track at Kauffman Stadium and he had to be carted off the field.
With Rivera almost assuredly set to miss the 2012 season, many wonder if he has thrown his last pitch. Entering the year, Rivera hinted at retirement and indicated that this could indeed be his final season.
For his part all Rivera has said so far is that he’s unsure what the future holds for him. Rivera said that he must first face the injury. Once it is diagnosed and a timeframe for return is determined, the 42-year-old will decide if he will rehab and return or simply call it quits.
Everything was lining up for Rivera to leave the game on his own terms. The veteran was on a contending team and, though he’s spent 18 seasons in the majors, he was still an integral part to the Yankees.
While Rivera’s future remains up in the air, it is certain that the Yankees will be without their closer for the foreseeable future.
The Yankees bullpen is a strength as they are second in the league in reliever ERA and have many talented arms. Still, the loss of a player such as Mariano Rivera will impact a team no matter what their situation.
David Robertson has been one of the league’s best relievers over the past season-plus. He would seem to be the favorite to take over closing duties in New York, though veteran Rafael Soriano also has a track record of success as a closer.
While the Yankees have to worry about the season in front of them, baseball fans in general are likely more concerned with Rivera’s legacy. No one wants Rivera being carted off the field during batting practice to be their final memory of the future Hall of Famer.
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