- Last Updated: 6:18 PM, May 4, 2012
- Posted: 5:17 PM, May 4, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, very likely out for the season with a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee, said Friday he will return to pitch in the 2013 season.
With a wide smile, joking around with reporters, Rivera sat in front of his locker at Kauffman Stadium and said he made the decision overnight in his hotel room.
“When you love the game and you like to compete, it would be tough to go out like this,” the all-time saves leader said. He added: “I can’t go down like this.”
Rivera said he will return to New York tomorrow, that he definitely will need surgery to fix the injury (he doesn’t know yet when or by which doctor), and he hasn’t fully ruled out pitching again in 2012. However, he seemed to realize this season is probably over for him, and he’s locked in for next year.
“I am coming back. Put it down,” Rivera said. “Write it down. In big letters.”
He said that prior to the injury, he hadn’t fully decided to retire after this season. He was thinking that through, he said, “but now, everything is out the window.”
Rivera spoke Friday with Mets team physician Dr. David Altchek, who performed Rivera’s right shoulder surgery in 2008.
“He mentioned three, four months, five months (until he can start working out). Depends on how I can take it," Rivera said. "He did my shoulder before. I’m a quick healer. That’s good. That’s all good.”
Now 42 years old, Rivera will be a free agent after this year. He expressed confidence, rightly so, that the Yankees would want him back.
“Oh, yeah. They will want the old goat,” he said.
Before Friday night's game against the Royals, Rivera said he will address his teammates as a group.
“I’m just going to give them encouragement that I trust them and believe in them,” Rivera said. “They can do the job. They will do the job.”
Rivera injured his knee shagging fly balls during batting practice Thursday.Follow @NYPostsports