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Rivera to decide if this is final season before opening day

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Associated Press
2/13/2013 2:12:44 PM
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TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera said he's reached a decision on whether this will be his final season and plans to announce it before opening day.

"Yes, I have," Rivera said Wednesday after the Yankees' first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers. "But again, I will tell you guys when I think it's the right moment."

Baseball's career saves leader had surgery June 12 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, an injury that occurred while he was shagging fly balls during batting practice in Kansas City on May 3.

The 43-year-old right-hander expects to be ready for the regular season. He threw 25 pitches off a bullpen mound and said it felt good.

"It was wonderful to be out there again," Rivera said.

When asked on a scale of one to 10 how the knee currently is, Rivera said, "around nine, for sure."

He added: "The other point will be the running that I do here."

Rivera wore a small, light-weight brace during Wednesday's workout, which had him also take part in fielding drills, including covering first base. He is planning to use a brace in games this year.

Rivera will continue shagging fly balls in batting practice, an activity that has the approval of Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

"That's part of who he is," Girardi said. "So, I don't want to take it away from him."

Rivera will likely pitch his normal seven or eight innings in spring training games, but could throw additional batting practice sessions or simulated games.

"We really don't have a whole lot of restrictions on Mo," Girardi said. "We will watch him carefully to make sure that we don't think he's taxing it too much. We feel pretty good about where he's at."

NOTES: LHP Andy Pettitte decided not to pitch in the World Baseball Classic after talking with team officials that included Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman. "I wanted to play," Pettitte said. "Obviously, after having some conversations with the Yankees -- (who were) not too excited about me playing in it -- just decided against it. It was a tough decision. I've never had a chance to play for my country, but it was a real big deal to me. And was really, really, really considering do that. It was one of those deals where I felt like this was probably the best move that I could make for this organization and for our team."

Mariano Rivera (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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