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Mariano Rivera hinting at retirement after this season?

Feb 20, 2012, 2:14 PM EDT

Mariano Rivera Reuters

Mariano Rivera was asked this morning if this will be his final season and the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer gave an interesting answer: “I know now, but I don’t have to tell you.”

Different reporters had different takes on exactly what that implied, but Marc Carig of the Newark Star Ledger thinks Rivera was hinting at retirement. Carig wrote: “He wouldn’t say it straight out but Mariano Rivera sounded like a man at the start of a farewell tour.”

If true that would be pretty huge news and, while Rivera might think he can dance around the topic for now, it’s tough to imagine the constant spotlight of the New York media won’t eventually get him to address it further.

Rivera has yet to experience a decline in his performance, saving 44 games with a 1.91 ERA and 60/8 K/BB ratio in 61 innings last season. It was the eighth time in the past nine years that he’s posted a sub-2.00 ERA and the 7.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was the second-best of his entire career.

I’m about as far from a Yankees fan as someone can be, but selfishly I’d sure love to see Rivera keep pitching until he at least ceases being amazingly dominant. Which, knowing him, might be 2017 or so.

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