In terms of things that may force Mariano Rivera’s retirement, I’ll put “needing to cut back his hours so he can remain eligible for Social Security” at the top of the list. It’s certainly more plausible than “the Yankees won’t want him back” and “he can’t get guys out anymore.”
For his part, Rivera said this when asked by the New York Post how much longer he plans on playing:
“I have one year left [on a two-year contract],” Rivera said. “I might call it over. I will know more in spring training.”
There is no reason to believe that Rivera won’t continue to be baseball’s best reliever in 2012, so it’s gonna be really interesting to see if he’s willing to actually hang it up when he’s still awesome. Well, awesome as an active player. He’ll probably always be awesome.
Don’t look at me like that. He’s the only Yankee I’ve ever been a fanboy of. Cut me some slack, OK?
The Royals are a game and a half out of the crazy AL Wild Card race — six games back of the Indians in the division — so they don’t have a huge margin for error. They got some bad news last night, though, that could have a major impact on their playoff hopes: closer Kelvin Herrera experienced tightness in his right forearm in the ninth inning of last night’s win, forcing him out of the game.
Herrera walked the bases loaded, then went to a 2-0 count on the next batter before leaving the game. That last pitch was a fastball that clocked in at 91 m.p.h., which is NOT a typical Kelvin Herrera fastball. Herrera didn’t talk after the game but his teammate Sal Perez said that Herrera told him “I’m tight. I don’t feel my forearm.”
Reporters left the clubhouse before an official diagnosis or prognosis could be delivered, so expect an update some time today. If Herrera is out the closer duties could fall to Scott Alexander or Brandon Maurer.
Albert Pujols had a big night last night, driving in four runs as the Angels beat the Rangers 10-1. Three of those runs came on a three-run homer. That was the 610th home run of Pujols’ career, snapping a tie for eighth on the all-time list with Sammy Sosa. It also made him baseball’s all-time leader for home runs by a player born outside the U.S.
Pujols was aware of the accomplishment, of course, and noted how honored he was after the game:
”It’s pretty special. Obviously, all the great players from the Dominican Republic, Latin America, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, they’ve gone through the big leagues and to be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling.”
After Sosa, who is from the Dominican Republic, comes Rafael Palmeiro (569); Manny Ramirez (555); David Ortiz (541); Carlos Delgado (473); Jose Canseco (462); Adrian Beltre and Miguel Cabrera (459).