NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Yankees closer Mariano Rivera had surgery on 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.
“It was wonderful to be out there again,” baseball’s career saves leader said.
When asked on a scale of one to 10 how the knee currently is, Rivera said, “around nine, for sure.”
“The other point will be the running that I do here,” he added.
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 manager Joe Girardi.
“That’s part of who he is,” Girardi said. “So I don’t want to take it away from him.”
Girardi did say, however, that his closer will have to alter his pregame routine at Kauffman Stadium.
“Only in Kansas City, I joked with him,” Girardi said. “That’s part of who he is. That’s part of his game that has made him great. It’s his time to relax, have fun and prepare for the day, so I don’t want to take that away from him.”
The 17th-year player acknowledged that he’ll have to be more careful when shagging balls in 2013, but he’s not at all concerned about another freak injury.
“I’ve been doing this for so many years,” Rivera said. “I’ve been doing it every day since I signed as a professional player. That’s what I want to do. To take that away from me, I wouldn’t be myself. I will do it, but I have to watch what I do.”
Rivera will likely pitch his normal seven or eight innings in spring training games, but could throw additional batting practice sessions or simulated games.
“We really don’t have a whole lot of restrictions on Mo,” Girardi said. “We will watch him carefully to make sure that we don’t think he’s taxing it too much. We feel pretty good about where he’s at.”
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.
“Yes, I have (made a decision),” Rivera said. “I won’t give it up until I’m ready for that. But again, I will tell you guys when I think it’s the right moment.”
Are you OK with Mo continuing his pregame routine, or should he stop following last season’s freak injury? Get the debate started in the comments section below…
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