TAMPA — Exit Sandman. Yankees closer Mariano Rivera is getting set to close his career.
Baseball's 43-year-old all-time saves leader with 608 plans to announce this weekend that he will retire after this season, multiple media outlets reported Thursday. The Associated Press reported that a news conference is set for Saturday.
Rivera, whose entrance to Metallica's Enter Sandman has brought Yankees fans to their feet, is regarded as one of the best clutch pitchers in history, posting a record 42 postseason saves with an 0.70 ERA on the way to five World Series titles.
"Greatest closer of all time. No question in my mind," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's really hard to imagine that anyone could do the job he did. At times it seemed like it wasn't fair. That's how good Mo was. He was so dominant."
Rivera missed most of last season after he tore a ligament in his right knee while catching fly balls during batting practice.
"I think he was sort of in-between last year, before he got hurt," former manager Joe Torre said. "It didn't surprise me he wanted to come back, just based on who he is and what he represents."
Trending Up: RHP Ivan Nova bolstered his bid to join the rotation, allowing one run on three hits in three innings in a 7-6 loss to the Cardinals. "The base hits were ground balls," Nova said. "It's not like they are doubles. If I give a base hit on the ground, that's good."
Phillies: Blown out
CLEARWATER — Mother Nature did Phillies pitchers no favors as the Twins' Aaron Hicks hit three wind-aided homers in Minnesota's 10-6 win.
Hicks connected on the second pitch from LHP Cliff Lee (3⅔ innings, two runs, four hits, five strikeouts), who was making his third appearance.
"I feel strong," Lee said. "I felt like I could keep going."
OF Darin Ruf, who was 3-for-28 coming in, went 2-for-4 with a two-run double and a run-scoring single.
"Hopefully that gets him going," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Ruf is a good hitter. … He might be trying a little hard."
Not today: Manuel said 1B Ryan Howard, who had played in 14 games in a row, will have today off against the Rays.
Blue Jays: Off target
SARASOTA — LHP Mark Buehrle, the Jays' third starter, allowed Nolan Reimold's lead-off homer in the first in his two innings against the Orioles, but he was more disgusted at his lack of control.
"For me, I hate walking guys. I'd rather give up 10 hits and no walks," said Buehrle, who gave up two hits and walked three.
Ryan Flaherty hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth as the Orioles won 11-10.
Lawrie out of WBC: 3B Brett Lawrie withdrew from Canada's entry in the World Baseball Classic with a rib injury. He is expected to miss 2-3 weeks.