Joe Girardi wants Mariano Rivera back in 2014

September 4, 2013

(John Minchillo / AP)

Joe Girardi may have managed a rag-tag bunch of New York Yankees through a series of injuries and the Drama of A-Rod to the precipice of contending for a wild card, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of coming up with a clunker of an idea.

On Tuesday night, he suggested that closer extraordinaire Mariano Rivera return for his 20th season of baseball next spring, when he’ll be 44.

“I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t do it next year. I don’t,” Girardi told ESPN New York. “He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do.”

Rivera isn’t about to see if he can be the baseball equivalent of Diana Nyad.

“I told you guys already. I don’t know why we’re talking about this. I’ve already made my decision [to retire at the end of the season],” Rivera said after earning his 40th save Tuesday night.

It might be awkward to pull a Favre and change his mind about retirement, given that Rivera has amassed a trove of gifts after every ballpark the Yankees have visited and the Yankees plan a celebration at their final regular-season home game Sept. 22. Deep down, even Girardi knows that Rivera’s mind is made up.

“I believe he’s going to retire,” Girardi said. “But as I’ve said, sometimes when you’re a player in the midst of a season and you’re grinding it out, your mind is one thing, but when you get away for a couple of months and your body feels pretty good, your mind is another thing.”

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren | September 4, 2013