KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said he will return to the mound by 2013, vowing to overcome a knee injury that figures to end his 2012 season.
Rivera had hinted at the start of spring training that he would retire after this season. He tore his right anterior cruciate ligament while shagging fly balls during batting practice Thursday.
The closer, 42, Friday firmly said he would not allow his career to end this way. "I'm coming back. Write it down in big letters. I'm not going out like this," he said. "I don't want to retire because I got hurt in the way that it happened."
In his hotel room Thursday night, Rivera said, he reflected and made his decision. He even has hope of returning late this year. "Miracles happen," he said. Typical recovery takes a year.
David Robertson figures to take over as closer, with former Ray Rafael Soriano also possibly getting chances.
Yankees players were lifted by Rivera's decision. "Everybody is happy to hear that," SS Derek Jeter said.
Said 1B Mark Teixeira: "I was one of those guys that didn't believe he was going to retire. He's still one of the best players in the game."
Alex Rodriguez wants Rivera to do his rehabilitation with the major-league team rather than at the minor-league complex in Tampa. "We need him around, and we need his presence and his leadership," the third baseman said.
Even several Rays said it didn't seem right for the all-time saves leader to exit via injury. Manager Joe Maddon said: "You don't want to see him possibly end his career shagging a fly ball in Kansas City. That's a hard one to really comprehend."
Rays C Jose Molina, an ex-Yankees teammate, said: "I hope it's not the last time I see him pitch."
Braun SITS: Brewers OF Ryan Braun, the reigning NL MVP, was out of the starting lineup with a sore right Achilles tendon. He is day to day.
Cubs Closer switch: Manager Dale Sveum removed RHP Carlos Marmol from the closer role a day after Marmol blew another ninth-inning lead. Sveum has decided on a committee approach but hopes one reliever will seize the role. He also didn't rule out Marmol regaining the job.
Buckner ball: The ball that rolled through the legs of former Red Sox 1B Bill Buckner in the 1986 World Series sold at auction in Dallas for $418,250 to an anonymous buyer. The ball was part of songwriter Seth Swirsky's collection. He paid $64,000 for it in 2000.
Dodgers: Bobby Abreu, released by the Angels, signed on for a reserve role as a lefty bat late in games. Abreu, 38, hit .208 in 24 at-bats before he was let go April 27. The Dodgers will pay $401,311 of Abreu's $9 million salary.
Tigers: OF Delmon Young was reinstated from the restricted list after his seven-day suspension, but he was not in the starting lineup. Young was suspended after he was arrested and accused of yelling anti-Semitic epithets in New York. He apologized.
White Sox: LHP Chris Sale, who was set to start Sunday, will return to the bullpen as the closer. RHP Dylan Axelrod will join the rotation.