Mariano Rivera Hopes to Return to Yankees in 2012


The greatest closer who ever lived was proven to be mortal earlier this year.  While shagging balls in the

outfield during batting practice – something he does before every game – Mariano Rivera leapt and landed awkwardly on his right knee.  The resulting injury was a torn ACL.  As he was carried off the field that day in Kansas City, it looked almost certain that Rivera’s season was over.  Maybe his career.  But Rivera is hoping to come back THIS year.

According to Matt Ehalt of ESPN New York, Rivera said he wants to return in 2012.  He appeared early in the day Monday on a local radio show and expressed his desire and goal to be back pitching for the New York Yankees before the end of the 2012 season.

"“That’s my goal,” Rivera said Monday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 FM ESPNNewYork. “I don’t think about it because if it doesn’t happen, I will be kind of like disappointed. I take it day by day. I’m working hard and doing what I do. … That’s the way I’m thinking, day by day and positive, definitely. Optimism, positive. Whatever the Lord will allow to happen, will happen.”"

Rivera is 42 years old and sits alone atop the career saves board.  He will surely be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.  He is unlike any relief pitcher we’ve ever seen.  But is his dominance, his determination, and his awe-inspiring skill worth the risks associated with an early return?  If he’s healthy, most Yankees fans would say yes.

Rivera owns a career 2.21 ERA.  He has finished 892 games in his career while pitching in a total of 1051.  He has 608 saves – the most all-time.  Simply put, Rivera is one of the greatest pitchers we’ve ever seen.  Most people feel confident in that statement despite the fact that he is not a starter.  Most feel Rivera’s dominance transcends role.  The closer role is becoming increasingly passé, but not when you talk about Rivera.

Rivera has already said he wants to pitch in 2013.  There’s no doubt the Yankees will let him do that.  If he makes a return in 2012, it will only serve to build upon the incredible legacy he has laid for himself.

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