Mariano Rivera sets surgery date

NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera will have surgery on his injured right knee June 12, the New York Yankees' closer said Wednesday.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. David Altchek, the New York Mets' team physician, and Rivera expects to be ready to pitch again by the start of next season.

"Oh yeah, there's no doubt about that, God willing," Rivera said Wednesday afternoon before the Yankees' game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The 42-year-old Rivera tore the anterior cruciate ligament and damaged the meniscus in his right knee while shagging fly balls in the outfield May 3 before a game in Kansas City. He would have had the surgery sooner, but doctors discovered a blood clot in his right calf after the knee injury.

Rivera was told by doctors last week the blood clot is now gone.

When asked what it's been like not playing the past month, Rivera said, "I've been so busy with therapy that I don't even think about it. When I come home I'm tired, and then [I'm] watching the game."

Rivera was walking normally, without a noticeable limp. The doctors have not given him a timetable in terms of his rehabilitation and eventual return to the mound.

When asked if he still thinks about potentially coming back this season, Rivera said, "I can't. I don't wanna think about it. ... I just have to be able to do what I was doing before. That's what I want.

"I always believe in miracles," Rivera added. "You have to get it fixed first."