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.
CLEVELAND — Albert Belle will flex his muscles for the Indians one more time.
The club is honoring Belle, once the most menacing hitter in baseball, with a bobblehead night promotion on June 1 against Tampa Bay. The bobblehead of Belle is of him flexing his right arm and pointing at his biceps — the pose he famously struck in the 1995 playoffs against Boston. In that series, Red Sox manager Kevin Kennedy asked the umpires to check Belle's bat, believing it was corked.
After Belle was cleared, he flexed and pointed at his biceps while yelling at Kennedy from Cleveland's dugout.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — New York Mets manager Terry Collins plans to use Bobby Parnell as the team's closer if Frank Francisco is not ready to pitch on opening day.
Francisco has been shut down with the same right elbow inflammation that ended his season last September and ultimately led to December surgery to remove bone spurs.
Collins told Parnell on Tuesday night that he would be the first reliever in line if Francisco isn't able to start the season with the team.
VIERA, Fla. — Davey Johnson is fully embracing the high expectations he's placed on the Washington Nationals.
The 70-year-old Johnson is preparing for his final season as manager before retiring, and says he's ready to take the heat if we don't play well.
Johnson and his team are full of confidence after finishing with the best record in baseball last season, winning the NL East with a 98-64 record.
Washington enters spring training with few roster openings, with Johnson believing he may have the best team he's ever managed.
I'm not going to come out and say we're going to dominate, but I'm going to come out and say I expect us to play awfully well on both sides of the ball, Johnson said.
-- The Associated Press