While doing a radio interview with Michael Kay earlier in the week, Mariano Rivera left open the possibility that he might return this season. However, he may have been a bit too optimistic as it seems the Yankees don’t think it will be so easy.
“He would have to pitch in games before the regular season ended,’’ Girardi told George King of the NY Post. “He usually gets six or seven [games] in spring training over the course of 20 days. I don’t think you can throw him out there without having somewhat of a spring training. “My anticipation is that it is going to be very difficult. It’s tough because there isn’t minor league baseball in September.’’
Rivera had his surgery in mid-June. Now the typical recovery period for a torn ACL is four to six months. Rivera would have to begin rehab by mid to late August to have a place to rehab. It seems highly unlikely, even considering the impeccable shape he’s in, that Rivera at age 42 would be able to recover that much more quickly than average.
The Yankees also don’t want to do anything to jeopardize Rivera pitching next season. They’ve done well without him this year, but a bit part of that is Rafael Soriano. Soriano has an opt-out clause in his contract. If Rivera did something that caused further damage and kept him from pitching next year and Soriano opted out of his deal, the Yankees would be in a very tough situation.
So while it is nice to think about Mo’s triumphant return this season, it just isn’t realistic.