It’s Mariano Rivera Day at Yankee Stadium and the pregame tribute to the retiring Hall of Fame-bound closer could not have been cooler. Where to start?
Rivera got a big batch of gifts from the Yankees and the visiting San Francisco Giants, including another rocking chair made of bats, a crystal replica of his glove, a custom-designed guitar signed by Giants legend Willie Mays and a $100,000 check for the Mariano Rivera Foundation. Metallica played a live rendition of Mo’s walk-in song “Enter Sandman” and then gifted him a custom amp with his number on it.
Rivera also helped Rachel Robinson, the wife of Jackie Robinson, and her daughter Sharon, unveil a massive new No. 42 plaque at Monument Park.
No major leaguer will ever wear that number again once Mo throws the final pitch of his career.
“Thank you for 19 years of support,” Rivera told the emotional sold-out crowd at Yankee Stadium in a short-but-sweet speech. “It has been a great run, guys. You guys have been amazing. And you always have been here, for me and for the organization. And I will never forget that. You guys will have a part of my heart here in New York. And you have taken me in like one of you guys. And I do appreciate that.”
Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, David Cone, John Wetteland and Jeff Nelson were among the baseball luminaries on hand. Joe Torre was also on-field for the ceremony.
Here’s a great photo of Mo walking in to the live playing of “Enter Sandman” from MLB Productions:
Mariners’ right-hander Arquimedes Caminero is nearing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The club has reportedly agreed to sell the 29-year-old’s contract, Dutton writes, though no official move has been announced by either team yet. Caminero is under club control through 2020 and currently ineligible for arbitration.
The right-hander began the 2016 season with the Pirates but was sent to the Mariners in a trade for Seattle minor leaguers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez in order to clear space in the Bucs’ bullpen. With the Mariners, Caminero produced a 3.66 ERA and 8.2 K/9 through 19 2/3 innings in the second half of the year. Although he boasts an electric fastball, one which consistently averaged 98.7 m.p.h. in 2016, his success rate has been tempered by poor control throughout his major league career. According to Dutton, the Mariners’ willingness to sell Caminero’s contract was a strong indication that they did not see him as a viable contender for their 2017 bullpen or as a potential trade chip further down the line.
Should the deal go through, the right-hander will be the second former Mariner to sign with a Japanese club for the 2017 season. Per Dutton’s report, outfielder Stefen Romero also picked up a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of NPB in late November.
During the Pirates’ FanFest on Saturday, right-hander Gerrit Cole announced that he is back up to full health after being shut down with elbow inflammation in September. Per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Cole said he’ll start a throwing program on Monday as he works on regaining his form for the 2017 season.
The 26-year-old pitched through 116 innings for the Pirates in 2016, delivering a 3.88 ERA and 2.5 WARP before landing on the disabled list in June with a triceps strain and again in August with elbow inflammation. It was a steep drop for the right-hander, who saw a considerable spike in his ERA and BB/9 rate and struggled to strike out batters at the 8.7 mark he managed in 2015.
The upside? Inflammation was the worst of Cole’s issues in 2016, and while the newfound health issues didn’t help his case for an extension, a more serious injury doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.