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TAMPA, Fla. -- Mariano Rivera officially returned from his knee injury on Wednesday. Soon he will reveal whether 2013 will be his goodbye season.
The 43-year-old Rivera, who tore ligaments in his knee in May, said he will announce whether he will retire before Opening Day. It could be as soon as this week, the all-time saves leader said.
"There are some things that I have to do," Rivera said before making his decision public. "There are some [personal things]. Don't worry, the time will come. You guys have been patient enough. I've been patient. Another day or a week, it won't hurt."
Last spring, Rivera hinted that 2012 would be his final season, only to say after his injury that he was always planning on returning for 2013.
For years, Rivera has wrestled with his desire to spend more time with his family and become even more devoted to his church activities.
On Wednesday, Rivera returned to a major league mound, throwing 25 pitches in a bullpen session on the first day of official workouts for the Yankees.
"It looked normal to me," manager Joe Girardi said. "It looked like the first day of spring training for any year I've been here. The command was there. He took it nice and slow. He didn't try to overthrow. He has been doing it for so long, I think he is pretty aware of what he has to do."
Last May, shagging fly balls in Kansas City, Rivera tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Wearing a brace on the knee Wednesday, Rivera moved smoothly during drills. Both he and Girardi said he will continue to shag flies.
"I'm going to be myself again," Rivera said. "I don't want to be someone that I'm not. I have to be careful. Yeah, I have to be careful. The injury happened because the Lord permitted it. I have to be ready, and if shagging is part of my routine, then I'll be doing it. How much? I don't know, but I'll be doing it."
During spring training, Rivera operates on his own unique schedule, usually just throwing six to 10 innings. He never goes on road trips. He said he will increase his workload slightly, evidenced by the fact he was in camp on time instead of his customary day or two late.
Rivera said he will fully cherish each and every moment after the injury and with the end of his career coming soon.
"I haven't been on the mound for a real game for a long time," said Rivera, who pitched only 8 1/3 innings in 2012. "I've been doing some bullpens. As a matter of fact, I was working out in New York doing some bullpens, but there is nothing like being in the real stuff, in the real game, in the real mound, covering first base and fielding the position and bunts, you are going to get that here. Again, like I said, I'm expecting good things.
"I feel good. It was wonderful to be out there again, especially another spring training. I was grateful and give thanks to the Lord for giving me the opportunity to be here again. I enjoyed it."