Mariano Rivera has been the greatest closer in the game of baseball. His tremendous career, begun in 1996 with the Yankees run at five World Series Championships, became one of the most storied careers in sports. When number 42 comes trouting out of the Yankees bullpen, it meant one thing: game over.
Eventually, the Yankees would have to get accustomed to life without Rivera. The closer hinted at retirement before this season started; however, no one thought that the Yankees would have to get used to it as soon as now. While exercising in the outfield in a game of catch before the Yankees played the Kansas City Royals in Kansas City, Missouri, Rivera jumped to reach for a ball that fell behind him. As he twisted, Rivera dropped to warning track holding his knee. Word is Rivera tore his ACL and will be lost for the season.
Rivera was put on a stretcher and carted off the field; now the Yankees are left to wonder. Watch video. Rivera will head back to New York where his injury will be reevaluated.
Manager Joe Girardi hasn't committed to a new closer yet, but he will have some good choices between veteran Rafeal Soriano, who was a closer in Tampa Bay before signing with the Yankees last year although David Robertson, might be the better option. In 11 innings, Robertson has 18 strikeouts and an ERA of 0.00. He has developed into a solid back-of-the bullpen reliever, serving primarliy as Rivera's set up man.
Nevertheless, stepping into Rivera's big shoes won't be easy. On the other hand, it could become closer by committee if Robertson doesn't nail the job down.
If this is the end of Rivera's career, it is a horrible way for a great baseball player to go out. Maybe Rivera will be back in 2013, but fans will have to wait and see.