BOSTON -- Mariano Rivera has had his share of success against Boston, but the Red Sox were full of respect and sadness at the news of the New York Yankees’ Hall of Fame closer’s season-ending and potentially career-ending knee injury suffered Thursday night while shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City.
“He’s good people, man. Me and Mariano are good friends,” said Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz.
“It was pretty emotional seeing that. Unbelievable. Injuries happen. You don’t expect it, but it happens. There’s nothing you can do about it. You don’t want to see things end that way. I’m sure everyone around the league saw it and they feel it. No question. He’s the kind of person who is a major believer in God, that He always has a plan for us. If he thought God wanted him to finish his career this way, he would understand. He’s had too good a career to go out like this,” said Ortiz.
“Obviously, this is a terrible loss for the game,” added outfielder Cody Ross. “He’s a guy who has done his job and done it the right way. You hate to see this. I grew up a fan of Mariano. I didn’t like facing him, but as a true fan you hate to see a player like that get hurt this way. It’s a sad day for baseball, for the Yankees. You hope he doesn’t have to go out this way. When I picture him, he’s in the stretch position pitching in the playoffs and getting the job done. He’s just a great professional and a great ambassador for the game.”
“If you don’t admire Mariano Rivera, you don’t admire anyone,” said veteran infielder Kevin Youkilis. “He has always been a great guy, a great person. You have to admire what he has done. He threw one pitch (the cutter) predominantly and made a career out of it. He’s one of the best ever. It stinks if he has to go out this way.”
“I don’t think anyone has anything negative to say about him,” chimed in veteran outfielder Marlon Byrd. “He never showed any emotion whether he got a save or if someone got a hit off him and he blew a save. But what set him apart was his work ethic that put him over the top. Hopefully this isn’t it for him. You have to try to stay positive. Hopefully he can recover from it and in 2013 you’ll see him as the Yankee closer.”
Boston manager Bobby Valentine also had kind words for Rivera.
“I can only be redundant. He’s one of the greatest guys I’ve ever met and one of the greatest athletes. The kind of pitcher he was I don’t think I’ll ever see it again in my lifetime. He’s special. Hopefully he can come back, even if he is with the bad guys,” said Valentine.