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The all-time saves leader has always said he'd come back from his knee injury. But now, word is he might not.
When Yankees closer Mariano Rivera tore his ACL shagging fly balls in the outfield, it was assumed that he was done for the rest of the 2012 season. The Yankees still maintain that they don't expect to see Rivera until 2013, now that he's vowed to come back. Rivera, though, isn't closing the door on a return this September, because as long as the possibility exists, it can't be impossible. Bryan Hoch:
Rivera spoke optimistically about a September return in an interview on Monday with ESPN Radio’s Michael Kay, addressing a published report that suggested his torn right ACL might not be a season-ending injury after all.
“That’s my goal,” Rivera said. “Definitely, that’s my goal. I’m not thinking about it because if it doesn’t happen, I will be disappointed. So I’m taking it day by day. I’m working hard and doing what I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to put something in my mind."
There's nothing conclusive, and we just don't know how soon Rivera might be ready. He's left the door open for an early return but he hasn't exactly issued a guarantee. What we know is that Rivera's thus far recovered well, and faster than doctors expected. But his recovery isn't complete, so the most we can say is "we'll see." How satisfying!
When Mariano Rivera tore his ACL shagging fly balls, it was nothing short of devastating, for Rivera, the Yankees, and the entire baseball universe.Thankfully, Rivera vowed to make a comeback, refusing to retire after an injury, but he was ruled out for the remainder of 2012.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said yesterday "in terms of 2012, he's out."
Makes sense, exactly what we figured. But:
[Dr. Keith Pyne] added, that Rivera "will be in the best position to accomplish that goal [pitching this year]. He's got everything it takes to accomplish that. ... If I was putting money on it, I would put my money on Mo."
I mean, it's not impossible that Rivera could return this season. He's extraordinarily disciplined, and it turns out he had a partial ACL tear, instead of a complete one. The Yankees aren't going to count on anything and their plan needs to be going forward as if Rivera will remain unavailable, but there's the possibility of a miracle. Maybe it wouldn't even be a miracle.
Rivera injured himself before a game on May 3. At that point, the Yankees were 13-11. Since then they've gone 39-22, which has been good for the best record in baseball. Rafael Soriano has been extremely effective in racking up 20 saves. Rivera's healthy presence, obviously, would be a good thing for the Yankees, but it's clear that his absence hasn't left the team crippled.
That’s 40 days ago. He was unable to have surgery to repair his torn ACL due to blood clot issues. That is, until now:
Mariano Rivera’s surgery went well, they repaired the torn ACL.
— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) June 12, 2012
Rivera is, of course, 42 years old and rehabbing an injury of this nature is a rough thing for a younger man. However, Rivera has shown determination throughout his major league career. He went on record almost immediately after the injury as saying he’d come back, that he didn’t want his career to end that way.
It won’t be an easy task, but if anyone can do it, Rivera can do it. I’d fully expect to see him in uniform for the Yankees on Opening Day 2013.
While the Yankees’ bullpen situation has stabilized — for now — with Rafael Soriano installed as closer, Mariano Rivera still awaits the knee surgery that will allow him to return in 2013. Mark Feinsand:
Rivera, who made an appearance Thursday at a charity dinner at Sofrito on the East Side for Carlos Beltran’s baseball academy in Puerto Rico, still doesn’t have a time frame for surgery on his knee.
“I’m good. I’m feeling good,” said Rivera, who walked with a slight limp. “We’re thinking about (the timetable).”
Asked if he misses the game, Rivera said: “I miss it a lot. It is (killing me).”
Rivera, who will turn 43 in November, still hopes to return to the game so he can go out on his own terms, rather than via the gruesome knee injury he suffered in Kansas City. Even if you’re not a Yankees fan, you have to be rooting for him to make it back.
After news broke that Mariano Rivera had destroyed his ACL, there were two things to talk about: (1) what it would mean for Mariano Rivera, and (2) what it would mean for the New York Yankees. Not only did one have to wonder about the rest of Rivera's career; one had to wonder how much damage the injury would deal to the Yankees' overall true-talent. How many wins would the Yankees lose by losing Mariano Rivera for five months? (of the regular season)
If you're familiar with the Wins Above Replacement statistic, you'd know that it says Rivera is worth about 2-3 wins above replacement each season. So that would be an estimate of Rivera's value. But ex-pitcher C.J. Nitkowski is active in Internet circles, and he's pretty well versed on cutting-edge statistics, and he doesn't think that value estimate is high enough. An excerpt from Nitkowski's blog post:
Here is what I think was so badly missed. The trickledown effect on the loss of Mariano Rivera is unquantifiable. I know you in the community hate that word, just like you hate "team chemistry", "gutsy player" and "intangibles." The reality is that you cannot say with any certainty how many games this injury will cost the Yankees, but I can say it will be more than 2.
That does not mean David Robertson himself will cost the Yankees 2 more wins than Mariano would have. It means you've lost a Hall of Fame arm in your bullpen. Robertson moves up, Soriano moves up, Boone Logan moves up, Corey Wade moves up, etc.
Your middle relief is now weaker, your setup corps has changed, or can't pitch as much in middle relief because someone has to take on Robertson's and Soriano's innings, which were so valuable.
That's just one chunk of it, and you should read the whole thing. Nitkowski concludes:
This is just one example of how it works, there are a million other scenarios. Robertson vs. Rivera, sure there is some loss but maybe not as much as the casual fan thinks. Losing Rivera is a bigger blow to the bullpen as a whole, both mentally (sorry, it's true) and physically.
From the statistical perspective, we get something of a counter from the inimitable Tangotiger:
So, it’s not a question of how good Mo is. He’s #1, and with a bullet. The question is how much value can such a player have in the role that’s available to him. And my answer is 2.5-3 wins a year.
And that also happens to be the official position of the Yankees and Rivera himself, since he’s being paid at 15 million dollars a year, and wins are going for 5 to 6 million dollars each. And 15/5 and 15/6 gives us 2.5-3 wins a year.
Tangotiger has reached out to Nitkowski, trying to see if they can have a discussion. If the do end up having a discussion, it'll presumably be public, and if they have a public discussion, we'll write about it here. Reliever value is one area where a lot of people disagree, so when you're dealing with a reliever like Mariano Rivera - only the greatest reliever in the history of the game - you're going to get a wide variety of opinions on what a major injury's going to mean.
David Robertson, so brilliant as Mariano Rivera's set-up man, has been shaky in his two outings as the Yankees' new closer. Is it too soon to worry?
It was devastating when we all learned that Mariano Rivera had sustained a torn ACL shagging fly balls during batting practice. It made us feel better when Rivera declared that he would be back, but still, we've got now through October to watch baseball without Mariano Rivera. It's going to be weird.
After we learned of the extent of Rivera's injuries, we also learned that he'd run into "complications". Unspecified complications, which can make for worrisome complications. Nobody would say what was up, but now we know:
Mariano's issue was a blood clot in his leg. Calf area.— Kevin Kernan (@NYPost_Kernan) May 9, 2012
I believe it is taken care of already he said of the clot— Kevin Kernan (@NYPost_Kernan) May 9, 2012
So Mariano Rivera had a blood clot in his leg. Or he still has a blood clot in his leg. But it's getting treated, and it won't set him back. It's a complication, but it's a minor one, which is good news for everyone involved. I mean, it's not good news that Mariano Rivera had a blood clot, but it's good news that the blood clot can be easily dealt with.
After the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera tore his ACL during batting practice in Kansas City, well-wishes came from all over baseball, and Rivera vowed to return in 2013 after expected surgery to repair the knee injury.
He visited with doctors on Monday to begin the process. It didn’t go as well as expected. George A. King III:
Mariano Rivera’s visit with surgeons yesterday was expected to result in a date for surgery to repair a torn right ACL.
However, things didn’t go as smoothly as expected.
"We ran into complications,’’ agent Fernando Cuza told The Post. "I am referring to Dr. Ahmad and [Yankees general manager] Brian Cashman for further information.’’
Neither Cuza nor the Yankees would elaborate on what was discovered when Rivera met with Yankees team physician Dr. Chris Ahmad, Dr. Russell Warren, the Giants’ physician, and David Altchek, the Mets’ doctor, who performed surgery on Rivera’s shoulder after the 2008 season.
That doesn’t say much… no details on what was discussed or what the “complications” were, and as noted, no one’s saying anything about it yet.
So all we can do is wait, as always, for further developments.
Mariano Rivera is 42 years old, and this is the last year of his existing contract with the New York Yankees. Before the season started, there was speculation that he would retire in the fall. And then after Rivera tore his ACL Thursday night, there was speculation that we might've seen the last of him as a major-league pitcher. A torn ACL almost certainly means that Rivera's 2012 is over. He could've opted for retirement, rather than choosing to come back.
Mariano Rivera is choosing to come back. As he tweeted himself:
Thank you fans, friends and family for your prayers, well wishes and support. I will be ok.I will be back.— Mariano Rivera (@MarianoRivera) May 4, 2012
And, as he re-tweeted:
"I'm coming back. Write it down in big letters. I'm not going out like this." - Mariano Rivera to reporters today.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 4, 2012
Plenty of people have been talking about how it would be a shame for Rivera's career to end on his ACL's terms. It would seem that Rivera agrees. While Rivera's accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in baseball, the one thing he hasn't yet accomplished is walking away how he wants to. He's committing himself to a lengthy rehab so he can try to do just that.
Great news for the Yankees organization. Great news for baseball.
The big story, of course, is the presumably season-ending and possibly career-ending injury to Mariano Rivera's knee. Rivera's one of few star players beloved by everyone, and he's among the game's biggest icons. But as much as there is to say about Rivera and his career, there's also the matter of the 2012 regular season. Just because Rivera's down doesn't mean the Yankees stop playing, and they're expected to push David Robertson into the closer role to take Rivera's place.
Robertson has been around for a little while, and he's been a dominant setup man. He's struck out more than 12 batters per nine innings. Since the start of last season, he's struck out nearly 14 batters per nine innings. I think people know by now that David Robertson is crazy good. However, given the times, I thought it'd be worth re-visiting something written about Robertson from last April. What is it about Robertson that gives him his edge? One explanation:
Last year Trackman installed its ball flight measuring systems in a handful of major league and minor league parks. The data provided a trove of information that makes the radar gun, a staple of baseball since the early 1970s, seem as obsolete as the typewriter.
Why is Robertson so difficult to hit? According to Trackman's measurements taken in one American League park last season, Robertson, with his exceptionally long stride and reach, released his fastball seven feet from in front of the pitching rubber -- the largest average extension Trackman measured in that park. The average MLB fastball extension was five feet, 10 inches.
Imagine if Robertson moves the pitching rubber 14 inches closer to home plate every time he pitches. That's the kind of advantage he gains over the average pitcher by releasing his fastball with so much extension. The radar gun (and Trackman) clocks Robertson's fastball at an average of 93 mph. But because Robertson shortens the distance between his release point and home plate, his "effective velocity" is 95 mph. It looks like 93 but gets on a hitter like 95 -- thus the illusion of "hop."
That's a big blockquote. You should read all of it, because it'll teach you things. You should read the whole attached article. As much as people talk about pitch velocity, it's the "effective velocity", or "perceived velocity", that's most important. Robertson gets insane forward extension on the mound, so his perceived velocity is quite a bit higher than his actual velocity. That's not the only reason he's so dominant, but it's a big one.
David Robertson has an extraordinary strikeout rate. David Robertson has an extraordinary delivery. We can't prove causation, but we can assume it. Neat for him. Neat to know.
The Yankees lose Mariano Rivera for the season, and while their bullpen will be the worse for it, it's not quite panic time.
Nothing could change his decision, Rivera said then, without revealing what it was. But retirement seemed the clear option, and when asked by reporters Thursday night if he would ever pitch again, Rivera, 42, said he did not know.
Understand this about Rivera: his career plans are never assured, whatever he says. After the 1999 season, Rivera told the congregation at a church service in his native Panama that he would retire after four more years to become a preacher. A decade later, at Yankee Stadium in the afterglow of the 2009 title, he said he wanted to pitch five more years.
How different would history look if Rivera had become a full-time preacher after the 2003 season?
Well of course that's difficult to say. The Yankees have won just one World's Championship since then, in 2009. The Yankees swept the Twins in their Division Series, topped the Angels in six games in the ALCS and beat the Phillies in six in the Serious. Rivera did pitch multiple innings in two close games, one apiece in the ALCS and the World Series. So it's possible that if Rivera had retired after 2003, the Yankees' World's Championship-less string would today run all the way back to 2000, which would be odd.
But as with everything else like this, it's really impossible to know what would have happened differently. Maybe the Yankees would have signed some big free-agent closer, who wouldn't have signed with another team and propelled that team to a championship. Now that we've lived through it, it's just hard to imagine a world in which Mariano Rivera didn't pitch for all those seasons with the Yankees.
Meanwhile, tacking on five seasons after the 2009 World Series would have meant a career stretching through 2014, during which Rivera will be 44 years old.
Realistic? Well, there's never been a 44-year-old closer. But even leaving aside knuckleballers and spitballers and other strange -ballers, six 44-year-old pitchers have thrown at least 150 innings in a season.
Kepner's right: We really can't begin to know what Mariano Rivera does until he actually does it. I just won't be surprised if he does pitch again.
One of the more under-the-radar stories in baseball is that Yankees fans and Red Sox fans don't like each other. It seems as if those two teams have something of a "rivalry" that transcends most rivalries in sports. You'd think it would be a bigger deal.
But over at the SB Nation Red Sox site, Over the Monster, Brendan O'Toole explains his emotions at the news that Mariano Rivera's career might be over, and they aren't "haha, choke on that you yankee loosah!"
... I could never find anything to dislike about Mariano beyond the fact that he was wearing the wrong uniform. The guy has (had?) one pitch. Just one pitch. But it was a pitch that ate hitters' souls. Shattered bats, shaking heads, celebrating Yanks. That's most of what I remember watching Mo pitch. A stone-cold assassin, single weapon in hand, calmly dispatching opposing teams. No Valverde hops, no Papelbon fist-pumps or dances. Just save after save after save, for 18 years.
That 18 years, more than anything, might be why I found myself tearing up watching Rivera discuss his injury, and the anguished tweets of Yankee fans last night
This is almost a litmus test to see if a fan has perspective. Rivera was the kind of player who earned begrudging respect instead of abject hatred. As a Giants fan, my only comp would be Vin Scully. There are actually Giants fans who can't wait to say bad things about Vin Scully. This extremist faction is barely tolerated, but luckily they don't have the numbers to become anything more than an annoyance. Scully transcends the rivalry.
And when it comes to Yankees/Red Sox, Rivera might be one of those guys too. It wasn't supposed to end like this.
This wasn't how it was supposed to be. You'll read that sort of thing a lot when it comes to Mariano Rivera's knee injury, but that's because it's true. Mariano Rivera wasn't supposed to consider retirement after shagging fly balls in the outfield; he was supposed to gather followers and ascend to another plane.
And on Thursday, Rivera spoke to reporters in the Yankees clubhouse, saying that his pain was "more emotionally than physically." He also said that he "let the team down," after which he fought back tears for several seconds.
Rivera was asked if his career was over, and he responded that he didn't know, at least leaving the door somewhat open for a return. He was expected to retire after this season.
Rivera's teammates addressed the media as well:
Derek Jeter said "I'm not a doctor ..." in that interview , but if you were giving birth in a broken-down elevator, wouldn't you trust him and his calm eyes to see you through the crisis? Yeah, I thought so.
Thursday night was a grim moment for baseball fans, but who knows if we've really seen the last of baseball's greatest relief pitcher?
It was a rough night in the New York Yankees' clubhouse, and it had nothing to do with the 4-3 loss to the Royals. Prior to the game, Mariano Rivera crumpled into a heap while shagging fly balls in the outfield, immediately grabbing his knee in pain. He had to be carted off the field and was unable to put weight on his injured right knee, leading many to fear for the worst.
Those fears were confirmed after the game, when Joe Girardi announced Rivera was diagnosed with a torn ACL. The injury will likely end his season, and may end his career as well.
And when he was asked some four hours after the injury and minutes after the Yankees had lost 4-3 to the Royals if he thought he could come back from the injury, which is likely to require season-ending surgery, Rivera said, "At this point, I don't know. At this point, I don't know.
"Going to have to face this first. It all depends on how the rehab is going to happen, and from there, we'll see."
For his part, Girardi tried to stay positive when announcing the injury, saying Rivera would be re-evaluated in New York and that the team would press on.
Girardi: "It's not what you want, but it's not season over. ... You have to find a way to overcome it."— Mark Feinsand (@BloggingBombers) May 4, 2012
Girardi said losing Rivera, a future Hall of Famer, is "as bad as it gets," but the team would have to press on and find a solution at closer. But Derek Jeter summed it up well after receiving the news in the locker room.
"He's going to be missed. There's no other way to put it. You can't replace him." - Derek Jeter on Mariano Rivera.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) May 4, 2012
Rivera may well battle back from the injury. There's a possibility he does it this year -- we still don't know the extent of his injury or a recovery timetable -- or the next. For now, though, in the immediate aftermath of his torn ACL, the mood is somber, both inside the Yankees' locker room and out.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported that Rivera suffered a torn ACL. Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal clarified that the MRI results and the doctors at Kansas City believe that the diagnosis is an ACL tear. The general assumption at the moment is that Rivera's season is over.
A short time later, the Yankees officially announced that Rivera had suffered a torn ACL in his right knee.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News had some comments from Yankees manager Joe Girardi regarding the injury.
"It appears he has a torn ACL ... If that's what it is, it's pretty much as bad as it gets. This is bad. Good teams find a way to overcome things.
"There are a lot of things in life that make you feel hopeless. Injuries are not one of them."
Girardi said he would sleep on who will take over as closer. "We have two guys that are very capable. It's not what you want, but it's not season over. ... You have to find a way to overcome it."
Yankees fans have to be pretty worried about Rivera potentially being out for the season, even if there are solid options for a new closer in-house.
For all news and information regarding the New York Yankess, please visit Pinstripe Alley.
Thursday night, something potentially devastating happened to the New York Yankees, their fans, and the entire game of baseball. Mariano Rivera was out shagging balls during pre-game batting practice, and he injured his knee in front of the wall. His facial expression was one of pure anguish, and he had to be carted off the field. We have a .gif and video for you, and we apologize for its being somewhat grisly. Don't say you weren't warned.
On Wednesday night, Jayson Nix was in Rochester with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees. On Thursday night, Nix was in pinstripes and playing for the New York Yankees. He's appeared in 264 major-league games over the last four years, and 919 minor-league games in his career. The 29-year-old has paid his dues.
So it must have felt pretty sweet to take batting practice at Yankee Stadium. He was called up to replace Eric Chavez, who went on the seven-day concussion DL. Maybe Nix would get some pinch-hitting opportunities. Maybe he'd hit well enough to stick. He took his rips during batting practice, hoping someone would notice.
Jayson Nix hit the ball Rivera hurt himself going for. Welcome to the club, kid. #Yankees— Al Skorupa (@alskor) May 4, 2012
This is probably going to be Jayson Nix's sole contribution to the New York Yankees Partnership. He came in, he took some batting practice, and he might have prematurely ended the career of one of the most beloved players in Yankee history. Not intentionally. No one will blame him for taking BP, fer crying out loud. But if it were someone different who was called up ...
Welcome to the Yankees, Jayson Nix.
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