The rewind button cannot be hit. Mariano Rivera will not pitch again in 2012, according to the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. To add injury to injury, he also suffered a partially torn meniscus.
The Yankees will miss their closer. Last season, Rivera continued to dominate in the ninth. At age 41, Rivera pitched 61.1 innings to the tune of a 1.91 ERA and 0.960 WHIP. Of course, his 7.50 K/BB ratio was exceptional. Marvel at the rest of his statistics here when you get the chance.
There are a few questions that arise. Will Rivera hang it up before throwing another pitch, or will he want to leave the field under his own power? Mo hinted at retirement during the offseason, but all bets are off after this injury. According to the man himself, he will be back in pinstripes.
"I am coming back. Put it down. Write it down in big letters. I'm not going down like this. God willing and given the strength, I'm coming back."
Regardless of what happens in 2013, the bullpen in 2012 will be without Sandman. Another large question is posed: Who replaces Rivera? Actually, I worded that incorrectly; nobody can replace Rivera. Who will be the new Yankee closer?
Nobody will be.
Girardi is yet to define either David Robertson or Rafael Soriano as the closer. Hopefully, if Girardi is gutsy enough, it stays that way.
In the most-crucial late-game situations, Robertson should be pitching. Plain and simple. He's the best pitcher in the Yankee bullpen. Soriano has excelled in the closer role in the past, but he is perfectly capable of pitching in any late-game situation.
The Yankees get to breathe a collective sigh of relief because of their extremely strong bullpen. The majority of the middle relievers are effective. Even if it is weaker without Rivera at the back-end, the tandem of Robertson and Soriano is still very good.