After pitching in only nine games last season before going down with a torn ACL at 42-years old, New York Yankees closer and future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera was likely headed towards retirement with few players at his age making a return to the mound or any other position in baseball with that severe of an injury.
Despite all the talk of retirement that surrounded the five-time World Series champion after suffering the devastating knee injury, Rivera was adamant about returning to the Yankees for at least one more season. Although admirable, many believe that Rivera’s stance would soon change at a rough rehibilitation process and basically having nothing left to prove on the mound.
Fortunately for New York, Rivera is a man of his word and officially announced his return via Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com:
New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has informed the team he intends to pitch next season, general manager Brian Cashman told ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand on Saturday.
“He wants to play again,” said Cashman, who was informed by the reliever of his decision Friday. “I’ll work with his agent, Fernando Cuza, on the details of a contract.”
Rivera will turn 43 later this month and will be part of an amazing comeback story if he’s back to form as one of the best closers in baseball in 2013.
As of right now, Rafael Soriano is currently the Yankees’ closer and played well over the course of last season in place of Rivera, but will likely hit free agency by opting out the final year of his deal.
It’s highly unlikely Soriano opt-in with the Yankees after hearing the news of Rivera’s return and with the prospect of cashing in on a successful season in free agency. Soriano will be a hot commodity on the free agent market for teams in need of a solid closer coming out of the bullpen.