HOUSTON -- The final outing of Mariano Rivera's career will end up being Thursday night's emotional appearance at Yankee Stadium when the closer broke down in tears after being removed by "Core Four" teammates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter in the ninth inning.
"I'm done," the 43-year-old Rivera said prior to Saturday's game in the road dugout at Minute Maid field, where New York was set to take on the Houston Astros.
Rivera finishes his career as the all-time regular-season saves leader with 652 -- 51 more than Trevor Hoffman's 601. Rivera's final ERA will be 2.21, which is second all time behind Eddie Cicotte's 2.20 for pitchers with at least 1,000 innings. In the postseason, Rivera ended up with 42 saves and a 0.70 ERA.
Rivera said that age and injury prevented him from even considering pitching again this weekend or playing the outfield. Rivera said his right forearm has hurt him throughout his final run.
"My forearm, even in the eighth inning on Thursday," said Rivera, who finishes 2013 with 44 saves and a 2.11 ERA. "I came in, you guys didn't see me in the dugout, I was trying to put something, hot cream, to loosen up, but you know that's something that I wouldn't talk about. That's something that you have to manage."
On Thursday, Rivera said that the emotion and the pain in his forearm gave him doubts that he would be able to finish off the game.
"I don't know how I got those two guys out in the ninth inning," Rivera said. "Only the mercy of God. But I knew everything was over."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would have allowed Rivera to fulfill a career-long goal of playing the outfield, but Rivera said his surgically repaired knee and his age would not allow it.
"I did consider it strongly, if it would've been a few years earlier," Rivera said. "I would've done it, but now my knee is not cooperating, and I don't want to make a fool of myself out there. I respect the game too much for me to do something that I'm not supposed to do."
On Sunday, Rivera will take part in one final retirement ceremony when Roger Clemens and Joe Torre present him with gifts. Clemens penned a column in the Houston Chronicle on Friday, reminding Rivera that he could always come back.
"And one last thing, Mo," Clemens wrote. "When you're sitting at home next May and the Yankees are in need of a closer, remember ... anybody can retire once!"
Rivera doesn't sound like a man who plans on returning.
"I think I squeezed every ounce of fuel that I have in my tank," Rivera said. "It's empty. It's nothing. I have nothing left. I give everything that I had, and I can say, I can go home and say, I used every talent that the Lord give me to play.
"I wish I could've continued to the playoffs, that's what we play for, unfortunately we didn't make it, but I'm thankful to the Lord that he allowed me to play the whole year without injuries and to stay strong."
Rivera said after Sunday, after all the celebrations and all the pitches, he will focus on relaxing and religion.
"Rest, rest, rest and rest and rest and more rest, that's what I want to do," Rivera said. "I know I'm going to be involved a lot in the community, the church we have, sharing the gospel, but right now I'm just going to enjoy my family."