Even though the blood clot in his leg delayed his ACL surgery, Mariano Rivera is still hoping he can make it back in time to pitch for the Yankees during the final month of the season.
“That’s my goal,” Rivera said on Michael Kay’s radio show Monday. “Definitely, that’s my goal. I’m not thinking about it because if it doesn’t happen, I will be disappointed. So I’m taking it day by day. I’m working hard and doing what I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to put something in my mind.”
Rivera, who was injured May 3, only underwent surgery for the torn ligament on June 12, which seemed to rule out any chance of a return this year. His rehab is going well, though, and Rivera thinks he could make it back around the three-month mark. If anyone can pull off that kind of recovery at age 42, it’s Mariano.
Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.
Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.
Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.