Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Rivera gets emotional send-off at Yankee Stadium

NEW YORK — Mariano Rivera said goodbye to Yankee Stadium with hugs, tears and cheers.

Baseball's most acclaimed relief pitcher made an emotional exit in his final appearance in the Yankees' home pinstripes, when captain Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte came to the mound to remove him with two outs in the ninth inning of a 4-0 loss to the Rays on Thursday night.

"It's time to go," Jeter appeared to tell Rivera.

During four minutes of thunderous chanting from the sellout crowd of 48,675, an overcome Rivera sobbed as he buried his head on the shoulder of Pettitte, who also is retiring when the season ends Sunday, and then hugged Jeter.

It was an extraordinary sight in a sport where a manager almost always goes to the mound to make a pitching change.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi checked with umpires to make certain Jeter, who is on the disabled list, could take part.

"I was so thankful they came out," Rivera, 43, said. "I was bombarded with emotions and feelings. Everything hit. I knew that's the last time. Period."

Said Pettitte: "I could feel him crying on me."

Before the game, Girardi said he "absolutely" is considering playing baseball's best closer ever in centerfield this weekend in Houston.

Doing so would fulfill a dream that Rivera has been talking about for more than a decade. But Rivera said he has to make sure he can physically handle it.

"I put in the request way back long time ago and now my knees are not the same," Rivera said. "So we'll see what happens."

Girardi envisions Rivera coming out from the bullpen to play centerfield in the eighth inning, then taking the mound in the ninth to close the game.

"One thing I'll tell you, if I can do it, I'll do it," Rivera said. "If I can't do it, I won't be making a fool of myself there."

Rivera is not exactly in what a centerfielder might call game shape. When Rivera was asked if he would like to play a full game in center, he said, "Nooooooo."

On Thursday, the crowd showed its appreciation early and often, beginning with the addition of a "Mariano" chant at the end of the customary roll call from the bleachers in the first inning. Rivera waved his hat in acknowledgment from the dugout.

The chants resumed in the eighth inning. As Rivera began to loosen up, fans sitting next to the bullpen stretched over the railing to snap photos.

"It means the whole world to me," he said. "It's amazing. I definitely appreciate the fans."

Rivera had not entered a game with the Yankees trailing by four runs or more since May 20, 2008, against Baltimore. Matt Daley is the answer to a future trivia question — he relieved Rivera.

Comments
Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Sunday vs. Twins1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.Promotion: Mascot socks for kids 14 a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

UPDATE, 4:17: CF Kevin Kiermaier was back at the Trop, and at one point on the field with a glove on his left hand and protective wrapping on his right, the day after surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb. He said the surgery went "as good ...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

The Rays have made it official – or as official as things can be with them – in naming RHP Yonny Chirinos as the fourth starter in their rotation.The Rays had been using three, and two "Bullpen Day" slots when playing five straight days.B...
Published: 04/21/18
Archerís sparkling start precedes surreal finish

Archerís sparkling start precedes surreal finish

By now, we presume you've had a few hours to digest the Rays' improbable 10-inning triumph Friday night.So instead of rehashing the whole bizarre body of work, how 'bout a closer look at the workmanship. Specifically, Chris Archer's.Partially lost in...
Published: 04/21/18
Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

HARTFORD, Conn. — Craig Breslow is 37 years old, with a dozen years of experience as a left-handed reliever in the major leagues. He is pitching now for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, just getting to know his teammates. In their openin...
Published: 04/21/18
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Published: 04/20/18