Mariano Rivera made his first appearance in the Yankees clubhouse in awhile this afternoon, and if you didn't know better, you'd think he was getting ready to pitch tonight if necessary. Mo walked without crutches or a limp and seemingly without pain.
But the ACL in his right knee is still torn, and the blood clot in his calf, discovered after he injured his knee shagging flies in Kansas City on May 3 is still there, despite being treated with blood thinners. There is still no date scheduled for Mo's knee surgery as doctors wait for the clot to dissolve and the strength and flexibility to return to his knee.
"I'm doing a lot of therapy so it's feeling better,'' Rivera said. "The pain is more tolerable.''
Certainly more tolerable than watching the Yankees struggle the way they have since Rivera went down; the club is 8-10 since his injury. But Mo said the Yankees' poor start to the season is no reason to write off 2012.
"The team’s not doing so well but we been through that before, many times, and we bounced back,'' he said. "We don’t have to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to continue to play hard, and we’ll do it.
I have seen it before, many times, so I don’t worry about it. As long as our mentality is good everything will pass.''
Joe Girardi said his closer looked so good he was tempted to ask him if he would be available by, say, July. "I told him, 'You’re walking around so well, maybe you don’t need anything,''' Girardi said.
Why not? In the 18 games the Yankees have played since Mo went down, the Yankees have needed the services of a closer five times. And not since May 14.