Game 26: Win it for Mo

(Chuck Solomon/SI)

Mariano Rivera is down but not out. The Yankees will be without their all-world closer for the remainder of the season but can look forward to having him back in 2013. That’s better than nothing. Now it’s up to the rest of the team to rally around their fallen closer and start a long stretch of dominance. Here’s the starting nine…

SS Derek Jeter
CF Curtis Granderson
1B Mark Teixeira
DH Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
RF Andruw Jones
LF Jayson Nix
3B Eduardo Nunez
C  Chris Stewart

LHP CC Sabathia

Tonight’s game starts a little after 8pm ET and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Brett Gardner Update: Gardner took some hacks the batting cage today and will hit on the field tomorrow. Hopefully that goes well and he can head out on a rehab assignment and get back in the lineup early next week.

Update: Yankees recall Wise and Eppley, option Mitchell

Via Pete Caldera, the Yankees are going to recall outfielder Dewayne Wise from Triple-A. He’s on his way to Kansas City and may even already be there. I assume Mariano Rivera was placed on the 15-day DL to clear a roster spot for Wise while either Michael Pineda or Cesar Cabral was transferred to the 60-day DL to open a 40-man roster.

Wise, 34, posted a .459 wOBA in 19 Triple-A games but hitting his not his forte. He’s a defensive stud capable of manning all three outfield spots with aplomb. Nick Swisher took batting practice on the field today according to Erik Boland, but perhaps the Wise move indicates that Swisher’s hamstring is still giving him a problem. He got hurt last Sunday and the Yankees have been playing with a short bench ever since.

Update (4:39pm): Via Boland, right-hander Cody Eppley has been recalled as well. That makes me think Swisher might be headed to the DL.

Update (5:41pm): The Yankees announced that right-hander D.J. Mitchell was optioned back to Triple-A, so Swisher avoids the DL. Pineda was transferred to the 60-day DL to clear a 40-man spot for Wise. Just to quickly recap: Wise and Eppley up, Mitchell down, and Mo to the DL.

Mariano: “I’m coming back”

Finally, some good news for a change. After tearing his right ACL shagging fly balls prior to last night’s game, Mariano Rivera showed up to the park today and told reporters that he will indeed return to the Yankees in 2013. The circumstances are unfortunate, but this is the best news the team has gotten in quite some time.

The RAB Radio Show: May 4th, 2012

There is plenty to talk about this week, but of course we’re starting off with the loss of Mariano Rivera. Mike and I try to stay as positive as possible.

Then we have the issues of the team, which take up a bit more room. There’s sorting out the bullpen and rotation, and then the lineup. Oh the lineup. The guys are going to come around and hit, but now more than ever the Yankees need timing on their side.

Podcast run time 40:49

Here’s how you can listen to podcast:


Intro music: “Die Hard” courtesy of reader Alex Kresovich. Thanks to Tyler Wilkinson for the graphic.

Injury might not have altered Mo’s plans

Remember earlier this spring, when Mariano Rivera said he knew what the future held, but wasn’t revealing it? Those sure sounded like the words of a man who planned to retire after the season. But according to Reggie Jackson, that might not have been the case. He told Bob Nightengale of USA Today that Mariano was actually planning to pitch in 2013, reserving his decision only so he could ensure he remained at the top of his game. That is, the greatest of all time might have a few more rounds left in him, injury or not. Obviously he has a few obstacles to clear first — “We have to face this first,” he said last night — but we could see Rivera take the mound in the ninth inning a few more times before he decides to hang ’em up.

Poll: Replacing Mariano Rivera

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I can’t believe this post actually exists, at least at this point in time, but it does. The Yankees lost Mariano Rivera for the season last night, when he tore his ACL shagging fly balls for the umpteenth time in his career. It’s a brutal and devastating injury both on and off the field, but baseball is an unforgiving game. The other 29 teams aren’t going to feel bad for the Yankees and guess what? They still have to play tonight, tomorrow, and the next day. That’s baseball.

There is no replacing Rivera. No one can match his brutal effectiveness or that security blanket feeling, but the Yankees will have to run someone out there in the ninth inning. Fortunately, they have two ready-made replacement closers already on the roster and won’t have to go outside the organization for bullpen help (at least not yet). David Robertson has established himself as one of, if not the best setup reliever in the game over the last year while Rafael Soriano was brought aboard because of his All-Star season as the Rays’ closer in 2010.

Following last night’s game, Joe Girardi said he has yet to decide on a permanent replacement for Rivera but would have used Robertson in a save situation had one arose. While Roberson deserves the job on merit, there are valid reasons to let Soriano assume closing duties. For one, the toughest outs aren’t always recorded in the ninth inning. In fact, they often aren’t. There’s a case to be made that Robertson’s dominance would be best used squashing potential rallies in the seventh and eighth innings while Soriano gets the clean slate to start the ninth inning. There are arguments to made for each side of the coin.

Whoever takes over for Rivera is going to have the toughest job in baseball. The scrutiny will be intense and the standards will be impossible to meet given what we’ve enjoyed for the last 17 years. Someone has to do it however, and although the Yankees have been struggling of late, the team is certainly strong enough to have World Series aspirations. Having a strong closer to shut things down in the ninth is part of that championship formula.

Who should replace Mariano Rivera?
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