Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera hints 2012 will be his final season

Mariano Rivera, the all-time saves leader, says he has made a decision on his future but won’t reveal it yet.

Associated Press

Mariano Rivera, the all-time saves leader, says he has made a decision on his future but won’t reveal it yet.

TAMPA — Yankees legend Mariano Rivera didn't officially say it. But the greatest closer of all time strongly hinted Monday that this could be his final season.

Rivera, 42, who broke the all-time saves record last year, admitted he has said probably the past seven or eight years that he'd retire after the season, then changed his mind.

However, Rivera, whose two-year contract is up after this year, said he made a decision on his future three weeks ago, and it is final. He insisted it is "irrevocable, even if I save 90 games, even if they want to pay me as much money as they want — any team.

"This one is different," Rivera said. "This is it."

He just won't reveal it.

Rivera reported to Steinbrenner Field on Monday feeling great, saying he enjoys everything "like it was the first day" and calling himself the "Energizer Bunny."

Despite having nothing left to prove, boasting 603 saves and five World Series rings, Rivera said he's driven by his love of the game and desire to win it all again. He said when he chooses to retire, it'll be because there are other things he wants to do with his life. He'd like to stay in baseball, but not as a manager and not at the major-league level, he said.

Rivera said he has discussed the issue with his family and will inform the Yankees — and the media — when the time is right.

"Decisions like that are always hard, always," Rivera said. "It involves what you do, it involves what you have done for 22 years, you know? Decisions like that are always hard, but at the same time, they have to be made."

Rivera became the Yankees closer in 1997, becoming uniquely consistent and durable during a career that will likely make him a first-ballot Hall of Famer. A 12-time All-Star, Rivera set postseason records for saves (42) and ERA (0.70), with Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon calling him "the Godfather of closers."

Manager Joe Girardi said the club has been fortunate to get so many great years from Rivera.

"I would say if he was 32 and we asked everyone in this room, 'Do you think he'll still be pitching at 42?' I don't think a lot of us probably would have said yes," Girardi said. "So it's a blessing, and the Yankees have been blessed well."

NEW DH: The Yankees reportedly reached an agreement with Raul Ibanez, 39, on a one-year, $1.1 million deal. General manager Brian Cashman had wanted a left-handed hitting DH who could also play in the field.

"It's a guy that's hit right-handers very well over his career and can still play the outfield," Girardi said. "He's been a productive player."

A.J. OUT: While RHP A.J. Burnett had his share of struggles and disappointment in his Yankees stint, Girardi said he should be given credit for his contributions, specifically in the team's 2009 playoff run.

"If not for A.J., we may not win that World Series because he pitched in the playoffs that year," Girardi said. "I'll miss him, and I want to wish him the best of luck."

STARTING UP: With six solid starters and five spots in the rotation, Girardi said the members — and order — will be decided throughout spring training, with CC Sabathia (of course) starting opening day. … Girardi said if he had to fill out a lineup Monday, Derek Jeter would lead off, followed by Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez, whom he believes will have a "big year."

Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@tampabay.com.

. key dates

Blue Jays

Pitchers and catchers report: Today

First workout: Wednesday

Position players report: Friday

First full-squad workout: Saturday

Phillies

Position players report: Thursday

First full-squad workout: Friday

Yankees

Position players report: Friday

First full-squad workout: Saturday

New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera hints 2012 will be his final season 02/20/12 [Last modified: Monday, February 20, 2012 9:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Playoff ambitions evident in opener for Zephyrhills, Wiregrass Ranch

    Footballpreps

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A new football season in Pasco County begins Friday night, but this one promises to be like none before it — with more math than ever. A new playoff system emphasizes schedule strength, making non-district tilts particularly important.

    Wiregrass Ranch wide receiver Jordan Miner catches a pass in spring practice at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel on Monday, May 1, 2017.
  2. Dirk Koetter says Bucs used team meeting to discuss social issues

    Bucs

    Four days before their preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns, which had 12 players not stand for the national anthem prior to their last game, the Bucs used their team meeting to discuss social issues that might have led to that demonstration, coach Dirk Koetter said.

    "The main thing is we have to respect everybody's opinion," Dirk Koetter said, "because everybody is not going to agree." [AP photo]
  3. Rookie tight end Antony Auclair making case to stick with Bucs

    Bucs

    Don't let his modest preseason stats fool you: Antony Auclair, the undrafted rookie tight end from Canada is making a strong case to stick around on the Bucs' 53-man roster this season.

    Bucs tight end Antony Auclair (82) collides with a defender following a catch during training camp. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  4. Calm (Largo) and clamorous (St. Petersburg) converge Friday night

    Footballpreps

    If Largo and St. Petersburg high schools are going to be successful this football season, it will be because of defense. And if those defenses are going to be successful, it will be because of secondaries that are potentially the best in Pinellas County.

    St. Petersburg High School CB Anthony Johnson  practices with his team Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.
  5. Rays morning after: Secret to Alex Colome's success is staying cool, calm, collected

    Blogs

    The ninth inning couldn't have started much worse for Rays closer Alex Colome on Tuesday, who took over with a 6-4 lead and quickly allowed a single and a double to bring the tying run to the plate.

    Alex Colome said the key to his effectiveness is not altering anything, especially his locked-in focus on getting the final outs.