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Mariano Rivera: 'I didn't want to go out like that'

Yankees' pitcher Mariano Rivera warming up his arm

Yankees' pitcher Mariano Rivera warming up his arm during a spring training workout. (Feb. 21, 2012) Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

Mariano Rivera reaffirmed his intention to pitch next season, though during a commercial shoot in Tarrytown on Friday, the all-time saves leader told that contract talks with the Yankees are ongoing.

"Like I told you guys before, I didn't want to go out like that,'' said Rivera, who is rehabbing after knee surgery. "At the same time, we haven't discussed anything. We're talking, so hopefully we'll finalize everything.''

Rivera told general manager Brian Cashman last week that he plans to follow through on his vow to pitch again. He made that declaration shortly after tearing the ACL in his right knee while shagging fly balls in May.

"I didn't want to go out like that,'' he said. "I felt like I have something left and [I should] give it a shot. Why not?''

Rivera, who will turn 43 on Nov. 29 and is a free agent after the expiration of his two-year, $30-million contract, expressed optimism about his progress. "I'm feeling good,'' said Rivera, who lobbed prop baseballs as part of the shoot. "The rehab has been great; it's been tough, but at the same time, I'm seeing good results. I can't wait to continue and stay 100 percent. A day at a time, like I always tell you guys.''

Fans aren't the only ones keeping tabs on how the Yankees intend to retool their roster. "I watch from afar because it's one of those things I have no control over,'' Mark Teixeira said. "You don't know who's going to be in, who's going to be out. I know the last four years, we've been as successful as anybody in baseball. We've had a great run. But every year someone leaves, it's tough.''

Rightfielder Nick Swisher, reliever Rafael Soriano and pitcher Hiroki Kuroda declined qualifying offers from the Yankees on Friday. Each could play elsewhere next season.

Teixeira and Robinson Cano (who didn't attend) were honored in Manhattan Friday nightalong with the other Rawlings Gold Glove winners, chosen by coaches around the league. "They're very objective,'' said Teixeira, a five-time winner. "They don't play favorites.''


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