Mariano Rivera’s Goal Is To Return This Season, Won’t Guarantee A Comeback In September

July 17, 2012 – 6:00 am by Steven Cuce

Mariano Rivera isn’t calling it a season just yet. The Yankees closer was put on the disabled list on May 4 after tearing his right ACL while shagging fly balls prior to a game against the Kansas City Royals. Last week, Dr. Keith Pyne claimed that he could see No.42 making a return this season because it turned out that Rivera only had a partial tear of his ACL.

Now, while this makes for a good story in the sports media world by no means do the New York Yankees condone Mo coming back this season even if it were in October at this point. From my vantage point why mess with a good thing right now as the Bronx Bombers own the best record in baseball heading into Monday night’s action? Rafael Soriano has also been lights out in the closer’s role. It’s all wishful thinking right now, but if Rivera somehow pulled this off it would be a story for the ages.

Mariano Rivera joined ESPN New York with The Michael Kay Show to discuss his emotions while watching Yankees games at home, the Yankees having the best record in baseball despite all the injuries sustained this season, Rafael Soriano doing a tremendous job as the Yankees new closer, the chances of him pitching before the season ends, being ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, keeping his throwing arm in shape and the chances of him pitching in September.

Do you get nervous watching Yankees game this season?

“Oh my god if I get this nervous [for the games] with the way I pitch I will never pitch like that. I’m sweating. I’m screaming at the TV. Yesterday almost coming back [against the Angels]. Alex [Rodriguez] just got a pitch he couldn’t handle and popped it up a little bit, but it was a great game though.”

Did you think once you got hurt that the Yankees would be able to play the way they have played?

“I am not surprised. I know this team is capable to do that. Every area of the team we have someone who can come in and do the same job that the other guy was doing. Maybe even better, so I always say the Yankees have done a tremendous job of putting teams together and it’s just one of those times. We lost key players and the other guys pick up and run with the team. That is wonderful.”

Rafael Soriano has been almost perfect in replacing you. He’s been 21 out of 22 in save opportunities. Do you believe that there are some players who are better as closers as compared to setting up in the 7th or 8th inning?

“I would say so. I would say something to do with the situation. He [Rafael Soriano] has done a tremendous job with increased responsibility. I went down and they tried to put the rubber down and Rafael Soriano was the guy and he has the experience. He has the ability and he has done it before. He has done a tremendous job though. Tremendous job on the closer’s role and it’s wonderful to see that. He’s showing a great desire and hopefully he keeps doing the same.”

Is there a chance you can pitch before the end of the year based off the story by Joel Sherman in the New York Post?

“That’s my goal. Definitely, that’s my goal. I am not thinking about it because if it doesn’t happen I’d be disappointed. So, I am taking it day by day. I am working hard, I don’t want to put something in my mind. I want to make sure I do my things first. Focused, optimism, confidence. Whatever the Lord allows it to happen it will happen.”

Are you ahead of schedule in your rehabilitation? I read somewhere that the doctors claim you are in a such good shape at your age that you are ahead of schedule?

“Yeah definitely. It’s going much quicker than what we were thinking. Everything, the surgery, the knee, the way the cut healed and everything. They can’t believe it’s going so quick like this.”

Are you doing any throwing? Are you allowed to keep your arm in shape?

“That’s one [question] I am gonna pass.”

Is there a chance you could pitch in September?

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t answer that. I would say I don’t know. I want to be there now. If there is any chance? Only God knows.”

Listen to Mariano Rivera on 98.7 ESPN New York here

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