Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Mariano Rivera Probably Done For 2012

Mariano Rivera tore his ACL shagging fly balls during batting practice. The Yankees say he's done for the season, but there's room for a miracle.

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Mariano Rivera Has Slim Chance Of Playing In 2012

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.

About that...

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.


Mariano Rivera Has Surgery, Torn ACL Repaired

The freakish knee injury that ended New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera’s season happened on May 3 in Kansas City.

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:

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.

For more on the Yankees, please visit Pinstripe Alley and SB Nation New York.


Still No Knee Surgery Date For Mariano Rivera

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.

For more on the Yankees, please visit Pinstripe Alley and SB Nation New York.


Nitkowski: The Mariano Rivera Effect

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.


So Far, Yankees' Plan B Isn't Looking Real Good

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?


Mariano Rivera 'Complications' Were A Blood Clot

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:

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.


Mariano Rivera Will Not Retire; Plans To Come Back

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:

And, as he re-tweeted:

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.


It's Too Early For Mariano Rivera's Career Obituary

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?


VIDEO: Mariano Rivera Suffers Knee Injury

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.


The early word - the very early word - is that Rivera has a "twisted right knee." However, "twisted" isn't a particularly medical term, and Rivera's been sent to an area hospital for an MRI. The Yankees will cross their fingers and hope the exam doesn't turn up significant damage. The great fear would be that Rivera did something to his ACL. All we can do for the time being is wait on the experts and the messengers.
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