Girardi: Rivera ‘appears’ to have a torn ACL

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.

Mustelier, Johnson homer late in Trenton win

The recently signed Adonis Garcia will head to Extended Spring Training for a while before being assigned to one of the minor league affiliates. Ronnie Mustelier was the same age Garcia is now when he signed last year, and he went to High-A Tampa after spending some time in ExST, though he signed later in the summer. Not crazy to think Garcia will see Double-A Trenton at some point this summer.

In other news, Dan Burawa’s rehab from a torn oblique is apparently go well. Hooray for that, even if we still don’t have any idea of when he’ll be back on a mound. Meanwhile, Gus Molina was activated off the DL and Yadil Mujica was promoted to Triple-A.

Triple-A Empire State (4-3 loss to Rochester) all three outfielders had an assist, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before
2B Kevin Russo: 2-3, 1 R, 1 BB — 12 for his last 31 (.387) with four doubles, eight walks, and five strikeouts
DH Frankie Cervelli & RF Cole Garner: both 0-4 — Cervelli struck out three times, Garner twice … Garner also threw a runner out at first
LF Dewayne Wise & 3B Steve Pearce: both 0-3, 1 BB — Wise scored a run, struck out, and threw a runner out at the plate … Pearce committed a throwing error
1B Brandon Laird: 2-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K, 1 E (missed catch) — 12 for his last 34 (.353)
CF Colin Curtis, C Craig Tatum & SS Doug Bernier: all 0-3 — Curtis threw a runner out at second … Tatum allowed a passed ball … Bernier struck out twice
RHP Dellin Betances: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 6 BB, 2 K, 1 WP, 7/7 GB/FB — 55 of 108 pitches were strikes (50.9%) … 6+ BB in three of six starts this year, leading to a 21/27 K/BB in 28.1 IP … the bullpen, it’s a callin’
RHP Adam Miller: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 26 of 39 pitches were strikes (66.7%)

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Update: Rivera taken off field with apparent right leg injury

Update by Mike (7:49pm): They’re calling it a “twisted right knee” at the moment and Rivera is headed for an MRI. He was examined by the training staff and the Royals’ team doctor.

7:19pm: According to multiple reports out of Kansas City, Mariano Rivera was taken off the field during batting practice this evening after he apparently hurt his right knee while shagging balls in the outfield. According to MLB’s Whitney Holtzman, Rivera was “writing in pain, holding his knee” after going down. Royals’ broadcaster Nate Bukaty says Yankee players believe Rivera slipped on the warning track while others say he “stumbled or hit the wall.”

Either way, he was carted off the field with assistance from Joe Girardi and the team medical staff. David Waldstein reported that the Yanks’ closer was in obvious pain, and he is putting no weight on his right leg. As of 7:30, the YES Network is on the air covering this story.

Clearly, this is not a good development, but we have no prognosis now. We’ll have word from the team as soon as they release anything. If 2012 truly is Rivera’s last season, this is not a good way for him to go out.

Game 25: The Search for Offense

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

We’re not used to the Yankees not scoring runs ’round these parts, so it becomes painfully obvious rather quickly when the team is in a collective offensive slump. I suppose the good news is that over the last few years, the Yankees are 23-8 in games immediately following a shutout loss (via Mark Feinsand). If only had was meaningful in some way. Here’s the lineup, which looks quite a bit like last year’s primary setup…

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

RHP David Phelps

Tonight’s game starts at 8:10pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Try to enjoy.

Nick Swisher Update: Swisher will take some swings in the cage today and if he comes through that well, he’ll do some running tomorrow for the first time since feeling his hamstring grab over the weekend.

Mariano Rivera Update: The Yanks’ closer hurt his right knee during batting practice. We’ll have updates in this thread as they become available.

Transactions: Eric Chavez, Jayson Nix, Joba Chamberlain

The Yankees officially announced a series of expected roster moves this afternoon. Eric Chavez was placed on the 7-day concussion deal, creating room on the roster for Jayson Nix. Joba Chamberlain was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Nix is in tonight’s lineup against the left-handed Danny Duffy, batting ninth and playing left field.

Notes: Chavez, Hughes, Joba, Gardner, Andy

Brian Cashman made an appearance on WFAN 660 earlier this afternoon and had a number of interesting things to say beyond the usual YankeeSpeak schtick. Let’s recap (with some help from our own Stephen Rhoads)…

  • Eric Chavez will be placed on the DL and was actually still at the hospital as of the time of the interview. Jayson Nix is taking his place on the roster and Cashman says he can play the outfield if needed.
  • “I believe he’s getting there … baby steps,” said Cashman about Phil Hughes, making it sound like his rotation spot is safe for at least another few weeks. “I think he throws a fantastic curve, I think he’s better than what he’s shown … We want to be patient and optimistic but we also want to reward performance.”
  • Joba Chamberlain has already shed his walking boot and is recovering well from both Tommy John surgery and his dislocated ankle. There’s even a chance he may return this year, though I wouldn’t count on itl. “Definitely a possibility [he returns in 2012],” said the GM. “He’s got some sort of amazing recovery ability, he doesn’t feel pain … Definitely possible we’ll see Joba.”
  • Brett Gardner will head out on a minor league rehab assignment before returning to the team. He was shut down with pain in his right elbow a few days ago, though Cashman didn’t specify a new timetable. With the scheduled day off on Monday, me thinks the earliest we’ll see Gardner is Tuesday.

In a separate radio interview, Cashman said Andy Pettitte will make his next minor league tune-up start with Triple-A Empire State this Sunday. That game is scheduled to be played in Batavia but apparently is in the process of being moved to Rochester. It that goes well, it’s entirely possible we’ll see Pettitte make his return to the Yankees next weekend against the Mariners.