Yankees closer Mariano Rivera arrived for the team’s Spring Training on Thursday, following a two-day absence to attend to family illnesses in New York.
“The good thing about it is I know what I have to do,” Rivera said. “I know what it takes and what I have to accomplish. I’m not worried at all.”
Rivera joined the rest of the Yankees’ pitchers for their morning workout and said he needs to speak to pitching coach Larry Rothschild to decide when he will throw off a mound for the first time.
He said he respected and understood Andy Pettitte’s decision to retire. Rivera said he also had a difficult time leaving New York on Wednesday evening.
“It’s hard. One of my kids (Jaziel), the little one, was attached to my hip, crying,” Rivera said. “It’s hard. A lot of people don’t see that part of the game, leaving your family. Being detached from your family is hard.”
Rivera added that he was not consulted – as had been reported – on the Yankees’ decision to sign setup man Rafael Soriano to a three-year, $35 million contract. The right-handers have lockers next to each other this spring.
“I don’t know Soriano much at all,” Rivera said. “I have seen him, talked to him a little bit, but I don’t know much. I will get to know him better this time and work together and get to know him. It’s going to be an interesting year.”