Mariano Rivera plans to retire after 2013, AP source says - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

New York Yankees

Mariano Rivera plans to retire after 2013, AP source says

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Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera at spring training, Feb. 13, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera at spring training, Feb. 13, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

By BEN WALKER | AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- The great Mariano Rivera is getting set to close his career.

The New York Yankees' reliever plans to announce this weekend that he will retire after the 2013 season, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Thursday.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because there was no announcement. A news conference was called for Saturday at the Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa, Fla.

The 43-year-old closer is baseball's saves leader with 608. He is regarded as one of the best clutch pitchers in history, posting a record 42 postseason saves with an 0.70 ERA while helping the Yankees win five World Series championships.

Rivera missed most of last season after he tore a ligament in his right knee while catching fly balls during batting practice. The right-hander was hurt May 3 and had surgery the next month.

Rivera returned home to Panama this week for a personal matter, and was expected to rejoin the team Saturday. There was a good chance Rivera would pitch in an exhibition game for the first time this spring later that day.

The 12-time All-Star typically goes at his own pace in camp, fine-tuning his dreaded cut fastball in the bullpen and in simulated games.

Minus Rivera, the Yankees still won the AL East last year with Rafael Soriano moving into the closer's role. Soriano left after the season as a free agent and signed with Washington.

David Robertson has gotten chances to close in the past when Rivera hasn't been available. The Yankees also have hard-throwing Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen.

Rivera began his major league career as a starter in 1995, soon became a setup man and quickly blossomed into a dominant closer. His emergence from the bullpen to the blaring strains of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" was a fan favorite at the old Yankee Stadium, and the tradition carried over the team's new ballpark.

Rivera also is the only -- and last -- big leaguer who wears No. 42. The number was retired in 1997 in tribute to Jackie Robinson, although players who had the number at the time were allowed to keep it.

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