The New York Yankees Prepare for Life Without Mariano Rivera
Mariano Rivera was just enjoying some exercise and shagging fly balls at Kauffman Stadium Thursday night when he suddenly tore his ACL in a freak accident that will likely end his illustrious career.
Baseball's All-time saves leader will definitely miss the remainder of the first half of the 2012 season and is quite possibly done pitching for good. He was lifted off the field by Joe Girardi and another coach and could not walk to the clubhouse on his own before being taken to the hospital for an MRI which revealed the torn ACL and meniscus. Rivera, who told reporters today that he refuses to go out like this, explained his injury like this:
“I got myself between the grass and the dirt and I couldn’t pull my leg up and twisted my knee. ACL. Torn. Broken. Meniscus, also."
Without their 42-year-old Hall of Fame closer, the Yankees will likely turn to reliever David Robertson, who has been groomed for the role but probably didn't expect to fall into it just yet. The energetic 26-year-old righty, who has learned from the best over the past four seasons, is probably the favorite candidate in the current closer talks. He struck out 100 batters last year with a 1.08 ERA in 70 appearances. Not bad.
Set-up man and former Tampa Bay Rays closer Rafael Soriano is another option if things don't pan out for Robertson. He seems to have settled into his role in New York after a bit of a shaky start to the year, allowing two runs (one homer to Paul Konerko... it happens) on 11 hits with six walks over nine innings pitched thus far.
Whoever does end up in the closer's role for now, Rivera's are impossible shoes to fill. Since his career began in 1995, he has accumulated 608 saves (only 73 blown) with 1,119 strikeouts and a magnificent 2.21 ERA. The Panamanian 12-time All-Star and last man to don no. 42 in the big leagues will surely be missed this season and beyond if he doesn't return. After all, he was the best. Even if you hate the Yankees, you have to love Mo.