While acknowledging it’s still “probable” that Mariano Rivera will return from knee surgery to pitch next season, Andrew Marchand of ESPN New York reports that the future Hall of Famer “is having second thoughts about possibly retiring.”
Rivera was pretty adamant about returning at the time of the injury, saying: “I’m coming back. Put it down. Write it down in big letters. I ain’t going down like this.”
However, according to Marchand’s unnamed sources Rivera “has the familiar tug that he has carried for many years of possibly wanting to stay home with his family and call it a career.”
Rivera is a free agent, so if he does want to play in 2013 he’ll presumably have to let the Yankees know fairly soon so they can plan accordingly and, eventually, come to terms with the 42-year-old on a new contract after he earned $15 million this season.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.