Rivera spoke optimistically about a September return in an interview on Monday with ESPN Radio’s Michael Kay, addressing a published report that suggested his torn right ACL might not be a season-ending injury after all.
“That’s my goal,” Rivera said. “Definitely, that’s my goal. I’m not thinking about it because if it doesn’t happen, I will be disappointed. So I’m taking it day by day. I’m working hard and doing what I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to put something in my mind.
“I want to make sure that I do my things first. That’s what I’m doing, that’s the way I’m thinking. Day by day, positive, optimism. Whatever the Lord will allow to happen, that will happen.”
The New York Post reported last week that while Rivera’s working theory is that he is out for the season, his rehabilitation is ahead of schedule. The Post quoted Dr. Keith Pyne, who is overseeing Rivera’s rehab, as saying that “if I was putting money on it, I would put my money on Mo.”
Rivera was injured on May 3 in Kansas City while shagging batting practice fly balls. He did not undergo surgery until June 12 because of a blood clot in his right leg, but doctors have been impressed by how quickly he is recovering.
“I’m working. I’m feeling good,” Rivera said. “That’s all I can tell you. I feel good and the therapy is great. Everything is good. You have to continue working hard and wait to get on the field.”
The 42-year-old Rivera was 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA and five saves this year. He has 608 career saves and said he has been tossing baseballs with his children, but will not guarantee that he’ll be pitching to any big league hitters this season.
“I don’t know,” Rivera said. “I don’t know. I can’t answer that. I want to. I want to be there now. Only God knows.”
Brett Gardner came into the Tampa, Fla. training complex today feeling a little sore and was given the day off, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Girardi said that the soreness is “a concern” and called Gardner’s repeated troubles with his right elbow “puzzling.”
Another setback could knock Gardner out for the season. He hasn’t played in a Major League game since April 17.
Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner felt more pain in his right elbow this morning and will be sent to see a doctor on Monday.
Manager Joe Girardi said that he does not expect Gardner back until at least the All-Star break after this setback, his second since suffering a strain making an outfield catch in April. Girardi said that he cannot be sure exactly when the Yankees will get Gardner back. Gardner is going to see Dr. James Andrews early next week, as well as go for a second opinion from Dr. Timothy Kremchek.
“Something’s not right. He still feels stiffness,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. “He doesn’t feel right. … We’ll try to figure this thing out because we don’t have an answer to this.”
- Yankees hurler Hiroki Kuroda has a bruise on his left foot but he believes he will be able to make his next scheduled start.
Rivera, 42, said that the procedure was scheduled after he learned that the blood clot discovered in his right calf after the May 3 injury was no longer an issue.
“I’ll do what I have to do,” Rivera said. “It’s something I have to work at.”
Dr. David Altchek, the Mets’ medical director, will perform Rivera’s procedure at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. Rivera has been working out since his injury, strengthening the knee to prepare it for surgery.
“Actually, I’ve been so busy with therapy that I don’t even think about it,” Rivera said. “When I come home, I’m tired, and then watching the games — it’s a full day.”
Rivera vowed one day after the injury that he would return to a big league mound next season. Though he said that he does not want to consider any timetables for a complete recovery, Rivera confirmed that his intent to pitch again has not wavered.
“There’s no doubt about that, God willing,” Rivera said. “I always believe in miracles, a lot of good things. We’ve got to get it fixed first.”
Rivera stamped out speculation about pitching again in 2012, saying, “I can’t. I don’t want to think about it. I guess miracles happen, but I just have to be able to do what I will do.”
In Rivera’s absence, the Yankees briefly promoted David Robertson to the closer’s role before also losing him to injury. Rafael Soriano is a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities and appears to have secured the job, even as Robertson is expected to return from the disabled list in about a week.
Brett Gardner had a setback after coming out of last night’s Minor League rehab game and has been sent for another MRI on his right elbow.
Gardner had swelling in the muscular part of his elbow, according to Joe Girardi, which is a different injury than the bone bruise he has been on the disabled list for.
Girardi said he now does not know when the team will get Gardner back. The plan had been for him to rejoin the team today.
“We miss his presence in left field,” Girardi said. “But we’ve got to find a way to get it done without him.”