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After missing most of '12, Rivera returns to form

After missing most of '12, Rivera returns to form play video for After missing most of '12, Rivera returns to form

TORONTO -- After missing the majority of the 2012 season following season-ending surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right knee, 43-year-old Mariano Rivera has picked up right where he left off.

The Yankees closer is 5-for-5 in save opportunities and hasn't allowed a run since his first appearance of the season. Rivera was in top form for Saturday's extra-inning win against the Blue Jays, working around a leadoff double to close out the 11th inning by punching out two batters and recording the other out on a line drive.

Manager Joe Girardi said the only thing he wouldn't do with Rivera is pitch him three days in a row this early -- he has worked back-to-back games once -- but is otherwise not worried about the veteran's health.

"They have had a lot of success with knee operations and anterior cruciate ligament tears," Girardi said. "I don't really have any concerns about his knee; he passed all those tests in Spring Training."

That doesn't mean Girardi isn't impressed with what Rivera, the all-time saves leader with 613, is able to do in his 19th big league season.

"Am I a little bit surprised that he is still pitching at a high level at this age? Yeah, but not that he has come back," the skipper said.

Rivera only needs to make three appearances and pitch 2 1/3 more innings to match his workload from last season.

Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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