Mariano Rivera “having second thoughts” about playing again

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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.

Yankees to hire Josh Bard as their new bench coach

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Aaron Boone has no experience as a coach or a manager at any level. As such, some have speculated that he’d hire a more seasoned hand as his bench coach as he begins his first season as Yankees manager. Someone like, say, Eric Wedge, who was a candidate for the job Boone got and who once managed Boone in Cleveland.

Nope. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, he’s going with Josh Bard.

Bard, 39, was a teammate of Boone’s with the Indians in 2005. He’s not without coaching experience, having spent the last two seasons as the Dodgers’ bullpen coach, but he’s not that Gene Lamont/Don Zimmer-type we often see in the bench coach role.

Which is fine because different managers want different things from their bench coach. Some are strategy guys, helping with in-game decision making. Others are relationship guys who help managers understand all of the dynamics of the clubhouse while they’re worrying more about lineups and stuff. Others are trust guys, who can serve as the manager’s sounding board, among other things. Some are combinations of all of these things. As Feinsand notes in his story, Boone said at his introductory press conference that he’s looking for this:

“I want smart sitting next to me. I want confidence sitting next to me. I want a guy who can walk out into that room and as I talk about relationships I expect to have with my players, I expect that even to be more so with my coaching staff. Whether that is a guy with all kinds of experience or little experience. I am not concerned about that.”