Throwing a 1-2-3 ninth, Rivera (4-2, 2.12 ERA) has now recorded 40 saves and fanned 46 batters over 54 appearances on the hill.
“I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year, I don’t,” said Girardi, 48, who caught for Rivera from 1996–1999. “He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do. I’ll tell him when the season’s over, ‘Take a month. Take a month and a half, two months, and make sure this is really what you want to do. Because once you do go, it’s hard to come back.’”
Expected to retire in less than two months, Rivera reiterated his intention to leave the game of baseball at the end of the season.
“I told you guys already. I don’t know why we’re talking about this. I’ve already made my decision,” said Rivera, 43, a 13-time All-Star and five-time AL Rolaids Relief Man Award winner.
Earning this summer’s All-Star Game MVP, it is astounding Rivera has been so effective since suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in May 2012.
As the embodiment of class and professionalism, the days of watching Rivera’s famed cutter are sadly nearing an end.
Sitting two games behind the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild-Card standings, it would be remarkable if Rivera could lead the Yankees (74-64) to their 28th championship in franchise history this autumn.
Unfortunately, regardless of what Joe Girardi says or how the 2013 campaign concludes, Mariano Rivera has clearly “made (his) decision.”by