Mariano Rivera may need surgery on vocal cords

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. (File photo, 2009)

Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. (File photo, 2009) (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

NEW ROCHELLE -- Mariano Rivera may have the right arm of a 30-year-old. His vocal cords, however, are another story.

A raspy-voiced Rivera revealed Tuesday at a charity event at his restaurant here that he might need surgery to repair his vocal cords. Rivera, 41, said he has had trouble with his voice for nearly a month and that he will meet with a doctor Monday to find out if his vocal cords will have to be scraped.

The Yankees did not return an email asking for comment, and it is not known how serious the surgery would be or whether the recovery time would impact when he reports to spring training.

"When you are talking about surgery, nothing is simple," Rivera said.

Rivera said he hasn't been sick and that his voice started bothering him about a month ago. The fact he was having trouble speaking, however, didn't stop him from addressing 42 underserved children and their families who had gathered for a Thanksgiving feast.

"I've been blessed with a lot in life," he said, "and I want to give back."

Rivera's restaurant also will donate $4.20 for every meal it serves for the rest of the year to Hope Community Services soup kitchen in New Rochelle, Rivera's hometown.

Other than the problems with his voice, it has been a pretty quiet offseason for the Yankees' longtime closer. Rivera, who is entering the final year of a two-year contract, did find it interesting that reliever Jonathan Papelbon left the Red Sox for a $50-million contract with the Phillies.

"They gave it to him, why not?" Rivera said when asked about Papelbon's leaving Boston. "That's the market."

Rivera said the deal did not get him thinking about what would happen when his deal is finished.

"Who knows what's going to happen?'' he said. "I might just call it [quits]. God knows."

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