Last month Mariano Rivera was coy about his future beyond this season, saying he’d already come to a decision but wasn’t going to share it publicly.
That led to some speculation that he plans to retire and Rivera’s comments to Kevin Kernan of the New York Post today would seemingly strengthen those beliefs.
Asked when he’ll reveal the decision, Rivera said:
I think maybe it will be before the All-Star break. I just want to be sure. I want to make sure whatever I decide, it will be the right decision. I don’t want to tell you, “OK, I’m going to retire,” and then I don’t do it. To me, that’s not right. Whatever decision I make, I continue or I don’t continue, that is a decision I want to stick with. As you get older, you have your priorities and you just go and do it.
Obviously a 42-year-old pitcher saying he plans to play another season is newsworthy, but if he plans to simply keep playing the need for a big buildup followed by an announcement doesn’t really seem necessary any more than it would have when he was 39 or 40 or 41.
Rivera also indicated that he likes the idea of making an announcement with enough time to say goodbye at each ballpark because “it would be nice that you tell the fans, so every stadium you go to, the fans will be there to show their appreciation and you appreciate the fans.”
I’d selfishly like to see Rivera continue pitching until he’s no longer one of the most dominant relievers in baseball and he’s shown absolutely no signs of slowing down yet, but he sure sounds like someone 162 games from retirement.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.