I’ve written a few times that it just doesn’t seem fair to the baseball-loving public for Mariano Rivera to retire when he’s still so clearly an amazing pitcher, if only because I want to find out exactly how long he can continue posting a sub-3.00 ERA. 45? 50?
Anyway, apparently Yankees manager Joe Girardi agrees, because on the same day Rivera notched his record ninth 40-save season Girardi told Ian O’Connor of ESPN New York that he plans to try to talk the 43-year-old future Hall of Famer out of retiring once the season is over.
I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year, I don’t. He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do. … I’m sure I’ll talk to him at some point in the offseason and … I’ll tell him when the season’s over, “Take a month. Take a month and a half, two months, and make sure this is really what you want to do. Because once you do go, it’s hard to come back.”
For his part, when asked about Girardi’s plans Rivera said: “I told you guys already. I don’t know why we’re talking about this. I’ve already made my decision.”
Meanwhile, he has a 2.12 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio in 51 innings and could end up with his most saves since 2004. Keep playing, Mo!
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.