Mariano Rivera: 'I'm OK'

Updated: May 10, 2012, 12:34 PM ET
By Andrew Marchand | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera said Wednesday that when his agent referred to "complications" during an exam of his injured knee, he was speaking in regards to a blood clot in Rivera's right calf.

"I'm OK," Rivera said.

The 42-year-old Rivera tore the anterior cruciate ligament and damaged the meniscus in his right knee last Thursday at Kansas City when he stumbled and fell while shagging a fly ball during batting practice. He likely will miss the rest of the season.

Rivera also revealed Wednesday that his plan all along was to come back and play next year. Rivera said during spring training he was "1,000 percent" sure what he would decide after this year, leaving most to believe that he would retire.

"I was leaning toward coming back," Rivera said. "I was feeling strong in that. It is hard. The traveling and the games. The traveling -- I hate it. The games -- I love it."

Even with his knee injury expected to keep him out this season, he reiterated he will return in 2013.

Rivera, who will make $17 million this season, will have to agree to a new contract.

On Monday, the New York Post quoted Rivera's agent, Fernando Cuza, saying Rivera had "complications" when he went to see New York-based doctors about his injured knee.

Rivera said the blood clot wasn't discovered until he met with doctors on Monday. Team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Russell Warren, a knee specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Mets team doctor, Dr. David Altchek, all examined Rivera's knee.

Rivera mentioned to the doctors he had soreness in his calf. They discovered the clot. "I was scared," Rivera said.

Rivera stayed at the hospital on Monday night and immediately went on blood thinners. The blood clot is expected to completely heal. Rivera did not know if the clot was a result of the accident in Kansas City or if it happened at some other point.

"Maybe it was a blessing," Rivera said. "I always say it like that. I always say that things happen for a good reason. I was more concerned with the blood clot than the knee. I was like, 'What else can happen?' To me, it is a blessing. I take it the way it is. I didn't ask why it happened. I didn't ask how it happened. I just [say,] 'How we deal with it?' "

Rivera will not have surgery for a few weeks so he can allow his knee to strengthen.

"I will be back as soon as I can," Rivera said, not ruling out a return this season.

Sitting on his couch in his Westchester home, Rivera watched David Robertson load the bases before picking up the first post-injury Yankee save.

"I sweat," Rivera said. "I sweat. I was saying, 'Throw the ball like this. Throw the ball like that.' "

Rivera said he is going to come back unless there are signs that it is his time to go. "I want do that, but I don't know what the Lord has for me," Rivera said. Yankees manager Joe Girardi grew emotional after Tuesday's win. Girardi talked about the notecard he keeps with his reliever listed from his closer on top to his long man on bottom. This week, he moved Robertson to the top of the list and dropped Rivera from the card.

"I look forward to see him back in a Yankee uniform," manager Joe Girardi said.

When or if Rivera does come back, one thing that won't change will be shagging fly balls during batting practice, even though that is how he hurt himself.

"No doubt," Rivera said. "Believe it. No doubt. I don't know if the Yankees will let me do it, but they are going to have to tie me down."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Andrew Marchand is a senior writer for ESPNNewYork. He also regularly contributes to SportsCenter, Baseball Tonight, ESPNews, ESPN New York 98.7 FM and ESPN Radio. He joined ESPN in 2007 after nine years at the New York Post. Follow Andrew on Twitter »

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