NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) —
Mariano Rivera admits it’s getting tougher each year to leave his family for the start of the new season.
The New York Yankees closer reported to spring training camp on Thursday after missing the first two days to be with his sick children.
“It gets a little hard … harder and harder,” Rivera said. “One of my kids, he was crying. A lot of people don’t see that part of the game. You have to leave your family. I’ve missed a lot of things. Again, we have to find a way to work it out and have that balance.”
The 41-year-old Rivera agreed to a $30 million, two-year contract in December.
“I believe that I can do it one more time, God willing,” Rivera said. “We’ll see what happens during the year. Baseball, that’s what we do, but there’s still life after baseball. There will come a time when you have to make a decision.”
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The right-hander was 3-3 with a 1.80 ERA and 33 saves in 38 chances last season. The 11-time All-Star has 559 regular-season career saves, second to Trevor Hoffman’s 601, and a record 42 in the postseason.
“Everything comes through how you feel and how you feel in your heart,” Rivera said. “It’s white or black, you have the passion or you don’t.”
Rivera has taken a slower approach at spring training over the past few years and probably won’t throw off a mound for another week or so. He normally pitches around eight to 10 innings in spring training games
“I feel good,” Rivera said. “I’ve been working out. It’s going to be good. The good thing about it is, that I know what I have to do. I’m here and ready to work.”
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The Yankees look to have a strong bullpen, especially with the additions of Rafael Soriano and Pedro Feliciano. The rotation has two openings after CC Sabathia, A.J Burnett and Phil Hughes.
“We have a deep bullpen,” Rivera said. “It’s not that we don’t have talent, we do have the talent, but we’re a little short on the rotation. I know the Yankees, they will do whatever it takes.”
Freddy Garcia, Ivan Nova, Sergio Mitre and Bartolo Colon are in the mix for the final two rotation spots.
Rivera’s longtime teammate, left-handed starter Andy Pettitte, retired during the winter, creating a void among the starting pitchers.
“I’m not surprised. We’re all going to make that decision sooner or later,” Rivera said. “He felt it was time to stay home. We have to respect that decision.”
NOTES: Sabathia, who had offseason surgery to repair a minor tear in his right knee, threw 35 pitches in his second bullpen session.
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