It appears as if the 42-year old Mariano Rivera never ages. Ever. His cut fastball continues to baffles hitters in late innings 17 years later. It looked as if he was indestructible. Until tonight, that is.
Mo twisted his right knee while shagging fly balls during batting practice prior the Yankees’ 4-3 loss to the Royals. He was carted off the field and transported to a local hospital, where an MRI revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
Rivera, known for chasing down batting-practice flies more earnestly than most pitchers, crumpled on the center-field warning track as he tracked a drive by teammate Jayson Nix. The knee appeared to give way a step before he reached the ball and the wall.
On the ground, he grabbed at the knee and grimaced. Girardi quickly raced to him and, with bulpen coach Mike Harkey, lifted Rivera into the back of a cart that whisked him off the field.
“He was in pain,” Girardi said. “Mo’s been shagging for a long, long time, and he hit that dirt and the dirt kind of gave way a little bit on the warning track. And his knee buckled. We weren’t sure what was going to come up.”
I get the feeling that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Rivera. Someone as iconic as him won’t allow his career to end in such a way. At least, I don’t believe so anyway. He strikes me as a guy who would want to end it on his terms, rather than by virtue of a phantom injury.