The Mariano Rivera farewell tour begins
April, 1, 2013
By Kieran Darcy | ESPNNewYork.com
The Yankees are celebrating the 111th Opening Day in franchise history on Monday.
For Mariano Rivera -- one of the best players to wear pinstripes over those 111 years -- it is his final Opening Day.
"I haven't thought about it," Rivera, who will retire after the season, said in a pregame news conference at Yankee Stadium. "I'm so focused on what we have to do that I don't have time to think about that."
Rivera, 43, hasn't pitched in a major league game since April 30, 2012. Three days later, he tore the ACL in his right knee while shagging fly balls during batting practice before a game in Kansas City and missed the rest of the season.
AP Photo/Matt SlocumMariano Rivera meets the media on Monday.
He decided to return to the Yankees for one more year. And sure enough, there he was in the outfield Monday morning, shagging fly balls again, as he has throughout his career.
"I didn't go full strength. But I will at one point," Rivera said. "I wouldn't change anything.
"It happened," he said of last season's injury, "and you just have to move on."
Rivera, baseball's all-time saves leader (608), said he feels "really good" on the first day of his 19th and final year in the majors.
Next year at this time, Rivera will be home with his family -- but he's not thinking about that, either.
"I can't think about tomorrow, let alone next season," Rivera said. "I really don't think like that. My mind doesn't go that far. It's being in the present, what I have to do now."
Perhaps that's the reason -- along with his cutter, of course -- he's been the greatest closer in the history of the game.