Mariano Rivera hinting at retirement after this season?

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Mariano Rivera was asked this morning if this will be his final season and the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer gave an interesting answer: “I know now, but I don’t have to tell you.”

Different reporters had different takes on exactly what that implied, but Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger thinks Rivera was hinting at retirement. Carig wrote: “He wouldn’t say it straight out but Mariano Rivera sounded like a man at the start of a farewell tour.”

If true that would be pretty huge news and, while Rivera might think he can dance around the topic for now, it’s tough to imagine the constant spotlight of the New York media won’t eventually get him to address it further.

Rivera has yet to experience a decline in his performance, saving 44 games with a 1.91 ERA and 60/8 K/BB ratio in 61 innings last season. It was the eighth time in the past nine years that he’s posted a sub-2.00 ERA and the 7.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was the second-best of his entire career.

I’m about as far from a Yankees fan as someone can be, but selfishly I’d sure love to see Rivera keep pitching until he at least ceases being amazingly dominant. Which, knowing him, might be 2017 or so.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.