A greeting from Mariano
Mariano Rivera walked into the Yankees clubhouse this morning and parted the room, clearing a path to his locker while shaking hands with every player, reporter and bystander in the way. Upon seeing an unfamiliar face, the future Hall of Fame closer made eye contact and said, “Hello. I’m Mariano,” as if any such introduction was really necessary.
It was quite the grand entrance to the old office, and Rivera shared a common statement in saying that the winter months went by much too quickly. Not that he was complaining about sliding the pinstripes back on for another tour of the Grapefruit League – there’s business to take care of.
“It feels like we finished the season a few weeks ago, and we’re here again,” Rivera said. “That’s a good thing; go back to work.
“Winning is special, but it’s something that already passed. To me,
it’s always a new year. Whatever happened yesterday or last year is in
the past. We have to focus on the present, and 2010 is a new year. We
have to put the same effort or even harder toward a new season and try
to do our best. I think we have a great team, a wonderful team. We just
have to do it.”
Rivera said that he feels no rush to rev up his cutter so early in the spring, as long as he is healthy and feeling good on April 4, and said that he’s happy to not be concerned about his right shoulder like he was last spring. Rivera also said that his contract situation – it expires after ’10 – is a non-issue.
“I have a contract this year. That’s all I need to know,” Rivera said. “The rest is
not under my control, therefore I don’t have to worry about it. … I don’t even want to get into that situation, because I have a job. If
I do a good job for the team, the rest will take care of itself.”
After the World Series, Rivera said that he felt like he could pitch five more years. He wasn’t as blunt today, but he did say that he’ll keep pitching as long as he feels like he can perform. In other words, when he’s not “The Great Mariano Rivera” anymore, No. 42 will stop coming out of the Yankees bullpen.
“I love to do this and that’s what I’ve done for my whole life,” Rivera said. “Knowing
that I can do it, I will do it. I won’t do it when I can’t do it
anymore. But if I think I can do it, if I know 100 percent for sure
that I can do it, I will do it.
“One day, that will happen, and that day I will go. Baseball will not
stop because I don’t play anymore. Baseball will continue.”
That day, I would wager, will not come in 2010.
- The Yankees will gather for stretch and agility drills at 11 a.m., followed by bullpens, pickoff drills and pitchers fielding practice (PFP). Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre are first up in the bullpen. Jonathan Albaladejo, Dave Robertson and Romulo Sanchez are next, followed by Andrew Brackman, Ryan Pope, Royce Ring and Zack Segovia. Last round goes to Wilkins Arias, Grant Duff, Jason Hirsh and Amaury Sanit. Catchers will take BP later on.
- Goose Gossage and Ron Guidry are here as the earliest arriving celebrity instructors.
- The Baseball Tonight crew was in the clubhouse this morning. Bobby Valentine, John Kruk and Karl Ravech are all on the scene.