The Yankees closer, after entering the clubhouse and shaking hands with every reporter he saw on the way to his locker, laughed heartily when he said the above as he was asked several variations about being a 40-year-old closer.
Don't worry. He feels just fine, though he plans to take things "slowly" this camp, just as he has in previous camps.
"It all depends how you feel,” Rivera said. “I don’t think the age will be a factor unless you put it in your mind, ‘Oh I’m forty, I’m forty, I’m forty.' But I feel good. I feel good, I feel strong. I’m anxious, happy and ready to go and want to play the game I love to play. With that, it doesn’t matter the age, as long as you can do your job.”
Rivera didn't repeat what he said after Game 6 of the World Series -- that he wants to pitch five more seasons.
"I want to play, definitely want to play,” Rivera said. “How many years, I don’t know how many years, but I definitely want to play because that’s what I do. I think I can still perform. Hopefully we’ll see what happens, but again, I definitely want to continue to play. Just take it a year at a time and see what happens, see what develops and go from there.”
Another topic was Rivera's contract status. Like Derek Jeter and Joe Girardi, Rivera is in the final year of his contract. Brian Cashman has already said he will continue the team's policy of letting contracts expire.
“He’s the boss,” Rivera said with a smile of Cashman. “If he says he won’t do it, well, he won’t do it. We’ll see after the year. That’s all I can say.”
“Hopefully I will continue to do my job with blessings from the Lord and stay healthy and hopefully I do my job and the rest is in their court,” Rivera said evenly. “They [call] the shots. We don’t have to say anything else about that because they make the decisions. I don’t make those decisions. I make my decisions, I can’t make their decisions.”
And while Rivera's 2009 gave no indication of a pitcher in the stretch run of his career, Rivera knows the day will come that he can't do it anymore.
"Oh definitely," he said. "One day that will happen and that day I will go, and baseball will not stop because I don’t play anymore. Baseball will continue. It happens in life. People come, poeple go. I know that will happen one day with me."
He then smiled again.
"But we don’t have to get involved in that conversation now."