NEW YORK -- Joe Girardi and the Yankees are not changing their expectations for Mariano Rivera's return from surgery to repair a torn ACL in his right knee. A day after Rivera said in an interview with ESPN Radio's Michael Kay that his goal is to return this season, Girardi said that remains unlikely for the 42-year-old closer.
"He's trying," Girardi said, "and my anticipation is it's going to be very difficult because it's a short period of time [to recover], but we'll see what happens."
Girardi said Rivera would need a simulated Spring Training experience in order to be ready for the postseason. Rivera pitched in eight games this spring, five the year before that and six in 2010. Most Minor League seasons are over by September, making it even more difficult should Rivera recover in time from June 12 surgery.
Baseball's all-time saves leader tore his ACL on May 3 while shagging batting-practice fly balls in Kansas City, but delayed his surgery because of a blood clot in his right leg. The idea all along was that he would return next year for Spring Training.