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Yankee closer Mariano Rivera hints 2012 will be his last season


amny Credit: Mariano Rivera throws a pitch during Game Five of the ALCS October 6, 2011/Getty

Mariano Rivera isn't going to announce whether he plans to retire at the end of this season -- but he hinted strongly that this will be his final spring training.

Reporting to Tampa, Fla., on Monday, the 42-year-old closer sought to head off what is sure to be a season-long series of questions by telling reporters that he made his decision a few weeks ago.

"I just don't want to tell you," Rivera said. "I know now. I will let you guys know when I think I should tell you."

Even if this is the year his countdown to the Hall of Fame begins, Rivera indicated he does not want to be honored at different parks throughout the season.

But Rivera did say that his plans would not be altered "even if I save 90 games, even if they want to pay as much money as they want to" -- implying that the all-time saves leader is beginning his final season.

Rivera is currently in the last year of a two-year, $30 million contract.

The Rivera Era

1995: Makes first major league start on May 23 against the Angels (five earned runs in 31?3 innings).

1997: "Accidentally" discovers his signature cut fastball while playing catch with fellow pitcher Ramiro Mendoza.

1999: Metallica’s "Enter Sandman" first plays him out to the mound.

2003: Named ALCS MVP (two saves, plus three shutout innings in Game 7 comeback win over Boston).

2004: Records 1.94 ERA and career-high 53 saves, but blows two of them in ALCS during Yankees' historic collapse against Boston.

2005: Blows two saves to start the season against Boston, earning boos Yankee fans and cheers from Red Sox fans, but recovers to finish second in AL Cy Young voting with 43 saves in 47 opportunities and a 1.38 ERA.

2009: Allows one run in 16 postseason innings and saves five games en route to fifth World Series title.

2011: Breaks Trevor Hoffman’s all-time record with 602nd save against Minnesota at Yankee Stadium.


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