Getting our hopes up for Rivera’s return in 2012

Phelps strikes out 11 in return to Double-A
Joba strikes out two in first minor league rehab appearance

The headline of Joel Sherman’s latest column says it all. “Doc: Rivera could pitch in 2012.” Surely this is just the NY Post headline writers making too much of an innocuous quote, right? After all, not only did Rivera tear his ACL, but he also had to wait a month before undergoing surgery to repair it. How could he possibly pitch this year?

As it turns out, delaying the surgery might have actually accelerated Rivera’s recovery time. His rehab doctor, Dr. Keith Pyne, says that the work Rivera put in prior to the surgery has made a difference. That preparation has put him in a better position during his rehab.

Another revelation: Rivera didn’t fully tear his ACL. He’ll have a shorter recovery time from a partial tear than a full one, so it’s tough to make comparisons to others who have experienced full tears. And, apparently, Rivera tore the ACL on the “correct” knee. Since there’s more torque on the landing leg in a pitching delivery, recovery can be quicker for push leg injuries.

At this point I have little original to add. The idea of Mo coming back to pitch in 2012 was unfathomable just yesterday. But now we have Rivera’s rehab doctor extensively on the record talking about his advanced recovery and how he could actually throw a baseball for the Yankees this year. It certainly feels like a tease, but with Rivera you never know.

As Pyne himself says: “I would put my money on Mo.”

Phelps strikes out 11 in return to Double-A
Joba strikes out two in first minor league rehab appearance
  • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

    I guess maybe we all shouldn’t start screaming every time a guy is hurt and he and the team don’t elect for immediate surgery.

    • DM

      Also, we shouldn’t believe that the media is conveying the right details. For me, the notion of the extent of the initial injury is the biggest factor. I’m sure Rivera will do everything he can, but the level of tear seems more responsible for the better prognosis than all the other aspects mentioned.

    • Tom Zig

      You mean to tell me that RAB isn’t a forum for doctors?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        jjyank told me he was a doctor.


        • jjyank

          *evil cackle*

    • yankee20fan

      Mo ain’t just some guy.

  • Andrew

    It seems like it would require an almost immaculate rehab process, meaning no delays, setbacks, holding patterns, etc. Everything would need to align perfectly for there to be enough time for him to get back, which I guess is possible but still seems very hard to see happening.

    And then the question becomes, do the Yankees have a comfort level with where he’s at physically to bring him back and insert him into what will presumably be important innings in late Sept/Oct?

    To me it’s just good news that he didn’t suffer a complete tear, which I don’t think had previously been reported in all of this. Should make his recovery easier, regardless of if it’s for 2012 or 2013.

    • MannyGeee

      Interesting point… with the bullpen we envision having in Sept/Oct (Soriano, Robertson, Joba, Logan, Eppley, Rapada), does Mo NEED to come back and throw “important innings” out of the chute?

      The luxury of having a very good-to-great bullpen is on the Yankees side in this case… I think he can be eased back into the fold when he is right, and with any luck he can close a game or 2 in the playoffs.

  • Ethan

    If Soriano was pitching horribly this would be a lot more significant. He’s certainly no Mo but he’s doing a pretty darn good job. I think Mo should not push himself too hard to get back by the end of the season. If he thinks he can, and be 100%, great! But if he pushes too hard and potentially injures himself or isn’t 100% he should just take his time so he can be fully back in 2013.

    • DM

      I agree but the idea of making a post-season roster might be a worthy carrot here.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Many thought he wouldn’t make it back for 2013, and would never pitch again. While I’m very skeptical about a 2012 return, at least now I can feel better about Mo coming back next year.

  • Havok9120

    I don’t care about the rest of it right now, I’m simply overwhelmed by the awesome that this is actually on the table.

  • jjyank

    Well Mo can probablly pitch this year, because he’s a robot and all they had to do was put a new circuit board in there. Pretty minor injury for robots.

  • Nick

    I know it’s Mo but hear me out.

    What if he doesn’t pitch in a Major League game but completes rehab just in time to be added to a postseason roster. Add to this scenario that Soriano keeps pitching like he is and ends up with 40 saves and an ERA around 2.00.

    What do you do. I would have to say that I’d stick with Soriano and then bring Mo back at the beginning of 2013. Alternatively, is there any possible scenario where Mo is on the roster but not the closer?

    Tough decisions.

    • jjyank

      I highly doubt that Mo is not the closer if he comes back in time.

      • MannyGeee

        big IF… he can be back, but will he be in correct form to close playoff games… see my comment above. Having Mo close games is a luxury, but not a neccessity.

        • jjyank

          I know it’s a big if…but wasn’t my point. I’m saying there is no way in hell Soriano closes games over Mo IF he is healthy. Unless he completely impodes in several opportunities, but Mo will not be slotting into the 8th just because Soriano has done well.

          • Bubba

            Well think about it.. Mo is a machine.. but even with all the faith the entire yankee fan base has you’re asking girardi to put a player who your not completly sure about in to close big time games.. i think for at least 2 games he will pith the 7th or 8th and if he shows he is ready to pitch again they will give him back the closing job.. if not then they will just tell him to keep working and they will give it back in 2013…

    • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

      If Mo is ready to be activated the day the playoffs started, and hadn’t pitched in a major league game, I don’t care if MFIKY has 50 saves and an ERA in the mid 1.00s, I want Mariano closing games. Let’s remember this isn’t Heath Bell, or Brad Lidge, or even Eric Gagne or Trevor Hoffman. This is Mariano Rivera. He is literally the best pitcher for a single inning in baseball history according to ERA+.

      • jjyank


  • Yankee fan since 2009

    Mo to teh 8th!

    • Cris Pengiucci

      While I’m not sure they’d ask him to do it, I suspect if they did, Mo would act as Soriano’s setup man. At least that’s what I want to believe.

    • Douglas John Bowen

      This might work, as close as one could get to “hedging a bet” on or with Rivera. It’s honorable enough, and it still strikes a psychological dagger into opposing teams, something that’s still of considerable value even with a Rivera less than 100%.

      This Yankee fan of 52 years isn’t the best soothsayer or event predictor there is (I miss lots of things). But danged if I didn’t suspect the possibility of Rivera’s return in 2012 some time ago (and, fortunately, voiced that belief to some other nearby fans). It was just a little too quiet, a little too subdued, on this issue. Now the official, widespread speculation can go wild, of course.

    • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

      Between you handle and your use of ‘teh’ I’m just going to assume this is sarcasm and move on. If anybody takes you seriously I laugh at them.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        D-Rob’s just getting back into the swing of things. Logan really needs to be out there pitching to get his swag back. Rapada and Eppley have done quite nicely in their role. I can’t really see Rivera returning to anything but taking DJ Mitchell’s innings, and what does Mitchell really have to gain from going back to AAA.

        I don’t know. I just don’t see a spot for Rivera right now.

        *sits back and waits*

        • jjyank


        • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle
          • jjyank

            I wish I could see this, but my work computer blocks videos :(

            • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

              that’s so terrible. RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE!!! Is this the new super secret NSA/CIA job or your bank job?

              • jjyank

                Haha the bank job. The Gov job, if I get it, will be a rather long road.

                I can see most sites on the network, just not videos and facebook.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  I can’t do any of those either while at work because I use a state PC. Reading all this while on vacation is much better

                • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

                  Sounds like your standard in company network. I never understood the not being able to view FB thing. Most companies these days have a FB and if I was CEO of one I’d tell all my employees “Don’t list were you work on your private page, but comment on the company page about how awesome we are at least one a week.”

  • TLVP

    First Joba coming back much quicker than expected an the Mo?

    If we get one of them this season it would still be shocking…

    • MannyGeee

      and somewhere in High A, Carl Crawford is nursing his hamstring and being called horrible, horrible hurtful names by the Fenway Faithful…

      • Robinson Tilapia

        And returning sometime in 2016.

      • Bavarian Yankee

        I read somewhere that Crawford said that he may require season ending surgery. Truly sucks to be Carl Crawford these days … nah, not really, he’s getting paid and paid XD

  • Darren

    I fully tore my ACL and MCL and was able to play softball 3 months later.

    On the one hand, it was not competitive baseball on the highest level – it was only softball for fun.

    On the other hand, I did not have Mo’s amazing genes, incredible work ethic, and unlimited time to devote to rehab.

    Just like when it first happened, I predict we see Mo in the World Series, if we make it that far.

    And yes, he would be the closer. That’s not even a question.

    • thenamestsam

      I know Yankees fans have the utmost confidence in Mo, and rightfully so, but I do think it’s a question whether he would be the closer. It has to be. If he makes it back just in time for the playoffs are you really comfortable if his first inning back in a big league game (for example) is the 9th inning of ALDS Game 1 with a 1 run lead? Because I honestly can’t say that I would rather see Mo come jogging out of the pen at that point than Soriano. If he just makes it back in time I think you have to consider easing him in.

      • Rivera Venue Blues

        This. I worship Mo as much as the next guy and put him on a different level than any other reliever but at the same time I realize that even he might need at least a few appearances after he comes back to have the same feel for pitching that he normally does.

      • Erin

        Agreed. I love Mo and miss seeing him like everyone else, but when he is back he still will need some practice and starts. To just throw him into a WS or even a playoff game would be risky.

      • David N

        And doesn’t the AAA season end in early September? So there’d be no shot of him getting into any actual games before the playoffs unless it was with the big club.

        It would definitely make me nervous. But if he could pull it off…can you say absolute legend (which we know he is already, but it would be on a whole other level)?

  • OMG! Bagels!

    Because he could doesn’t mean he should. I’d rather he rehab over the winter than rush back.

    • jjyank

      Well we don’t really know if him being ready in September sometime is being rushed or not. I trust Rivera more than any other player to know his body and his capabilities of pitching at a high level, so if he’s back in September and he feels ready and his doctors give him the green light, I wouldn’t call that rushing it.

    • Darren

      Pro-tip: Don’t get seduced by Rafael Soriano in June. In October baseball, if you don’t want Mariano Rivera on the mound, you’re a fool.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    How the hell am I now supposed to go outside now with this erection?

    • jjyank

      Wear sweatpants, tuck it up into the elastic band. Or take a cold shower. At least I’m sitting behind a counter at work, I don’t normally have to get up and move around.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        So tuck it into my sock is what you’re saying.

        • Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

          Probably your best bet, yeah.

        • jjyank

          I was going to suggest a ski cap, but I didn’t want to be presumptuous.

          • Cris Pengiucci

            Yeah, bending it down and tucking it in your sock can be painfull. I tried that once.

  • CapitalT

    Mo has obviously found favor with God once again.

    Confirmed by a book from my early Yankee years.

  • RI$P FTW

    Now we know why the Yanks want Reggie to shut up. The entire DL is on HGH.

  • mike

    Bring back Mo….demote Soriano….Soriano sulks….opts out in frustration after a really good season :)

  • Brian S.

    “The work he put in”=HGH. Hopefully he shared with Andy.

    • Brian S.

      And Brett Gardner

  • Rafael Soriano


  • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

    I tore my acl-complete-2 weeks ago and have a partial meniscus tear. It happened during a “plant foot” giving out on a softball throw from the outfield to 3B. I had alot of swelling and 75cc of blood drawn off but have not missed any work. I will probably have surgery but will rehab as much as possible prior to it.

    My goal is to be able to quickly get to the concession stand during a game without pain.

    Mo should come back in 2013. No rush at his age.

  • RetroRob

    One main issue working against a 2012 return is rehab time. Rehab assignments don’t happen in September because minor league games pretty much end.

    • Tom Swift

      For Mo, they could ask a few good minor league hitters to stick around Tampa and hit BP. I don’t see this as a huge problem — there’s got to be a work around.

  • sjferrari

    At the beginning of the season, my girlfriend bought two tickets to the Yankees-Red Sox game on Oct. 1 – the start of the last series of the season. If I can see a Yankees-Boston game closed out by Mariano, well, I think I’d be a pretty happy camper.

  • Rob in CT

    I remember Mo saying (pre-surgery) that he was going to try and be back in 2012. I put it down to typical professional athelete belief-in-themselves wishful thinking.

    Apparently not.

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    How much will Mo get next year?

  • LiterallyFigurative

    Mo as the long man!

    Seriously though, if he can come back, how sick would the bullpen be?

    Hopefully, if he comes back in September, we have enough of a cushion where we can let Mo work his way back into the groove, almost like a second spring training.

    Just have the lead after the 5th inning in October, then Girardi can unleash the hounds.


    with Boone Logan and Clay Rapada (maybe even Feliciano?) ready for Fielder, Dunn, Hamilton, Pena, etc.

    • DJ4K&Monterowasdinero

      Skip Rapada and go:


      Only need a 3 inning starter.

  • Endlessmike

    Mo should pitch when the Yankees make the postseason.Like spring training Mo only needs 6 innings to get ready and it’s not like he messed upelbow or shoulder.

  • Wayne’s World

    Soriano must have had a meltdown when he read this.