New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said he’s reached a decision on whether this will be his final season and plans to announce it before Opening Day.
“Yes, I have,” Rivera said Wednesday after the Yankees’ first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers. “But again, I will tell you guys when I think it’s the right moment.”
Baseball’s career saves leader had surgery June 12 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, an injury that occurred while he was shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3.
The 43-year-old right-hander expects to be ready for the regular season. He threw 25 pitches off a bullpen mound and said it felt good.
“It was wonderful to be out there again,” Rivera said.
When asked on a scale of one to 10 how the knee currently is, Rivera said, “around nine, for sure.”
He added: “The other point will be the running that I do here.”
Rivera wore a small, light-weight brace during Wednesday’s workout, which had him also take part in fielding drills, including covering first base. He is planning to use a brace in games this year.
Rivera will continue shagging fly balls in batting practice, an activity that has the approval of Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
“That’s part of who he is,” Girardi said. “So I don’t want to take it away from him.”
The Yankees added depth to their bullpen, acquiring right-hander Shawn Kelley from the Seattle Mariners for minor-league outfielder Abraham Almonte. Kelley, 28, went 2-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 47 appearances for Seattle last season.
Pirates sign Inge
The Pittsburgh Pirates signed infielder Brandon Inge, who played catcher, infield and outfield for the Detroit Tigers, to a minor-league contract. Inge received in invitation to spring training.
Inge, 35, was released by Detroit after just nine games last season, and was signed by Oakland. He hit .226 with 11 home runs and 52 RBI in 74 games for the Athletics, as they advanced to the postseason.
Originally selected by Detroit in the second round of the 1998 draft, Inge was an American League All-Star in 2009.
Inge has a .234 career average and 151 home runs.
Mets adjust closer role
New York Mets manager Terry Collins plans to use Bobby Parnell as the team’s closer if Frank Francisco is not ready to pitch on Opening Day. Francisco has been shut down with the same right elbow inflammation that ended his season last September and ultimately led to December surgery to remove bone spurs.
Collins told Parnell on Tuesday night that he would be the first reliever in line if Francisco isn’t able to start the season with the team. Collins said Wednesday that newcomer Brandon Lyon would likely would move into the eighth-inning spot in that scenario.
Hernandez signs deal
Fighting back tears while his hands trembled, Felix Hernandez signed a seven-year contract with the Seattle Mariners that makes him the highest-paid pitcher in baseball. During a news conference Wednesday, Hernandez officially signed his new deal that will be worth $175 million. The contract covers the final two years of his current deal that was scheduled to run through the 2014 season and adds five additional years.