The bad news on Mariano Rivera from Joe Girardi: “It appears that he has a torn ACL. He will obviously go back to New York and be examined by our guys.” If this initial diagnosis holds true, Rivera will likely be out for at least 6-8 months. Rivera had hinted that 2012 would be his final season, but he had also said he wanted to go out on his terms. We’ll see what this means for his future.
Rivera, speaking through tears in the clubhouse, talked of his injury and future. He said he caught his spike between the grass and dirt and could not pull himself up. He injured his ACL and meniscus. “It’s more mentally than physically,” he said. “I let the team down.”
The Yanks’ closer injured himself in the outfield during batting practice but said he had no regrets. “If I had to do it over again, I’d do it over again,” he said of shagging in the outfield.
When asked if he would return to pitch again this year, Rivera teared up. “At this point, I don’t know. I’ll have to face this first,” Rivera said.
The Yankees, meanwhile, now have an immediate hole in their game plan. With Mariano out of the picture for the foreseeable future, the club will have to find a new pitcher for a role Mariano has filled since 1997. While speaking with reporters after the game, Girardi spoke about the current state of the bullpen. “You lose a Hall of Famer. That changes it a lot,” he said “If that’s what it is, that’s about as bad as it gets.” Either David Robertson or Rafael Soriano could fill in, and Girardi said he was going to sleep on this decision. Considering how Girardi uses the closer, I’d rather see Soriano take the 9th inning and Robertson stay in the fireman role. They can’t really go wrong with either though.
After the game, David Robertson spoke honestly of the injury and his future role in the bullpen. “I don’t know if I’m prepared to do it or not, “he said of closing. “I’m going to go out there and give it my best. I’ve never done it.” For what its worth, Robertson has not allowed a run since August 29 and has given up just one run since July 24 over a span of 37.2 innings.
Girardi, grim during his interview, tried to find some glimmer of hope, but this news is dismaying. “That’s a preliminary report, and that’s not a good report,” the Yanks’ manager said. “Good teams find ways to overcome things, and if we want to play in October, we’ll have to overcome it.”
“It’s bad. It’s bad. There’s no other way you can put it,” Derek Jeter said after the game.
Rivera, 42, is Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader with 608. A 12-time All Star, Rivera has won five World Series with the Yanks and earned himself the 1999 World Series MVP. He is widely respected throughout baseball and has been a durable and steady presence at the back end of the Yanks’ bullpen since 1996.