Note: The updated version of this article with quotes and reaction to the potential career-ending injury to Rivera is located here.
The injuries just keep on getting weirder and weirder for the New York Yankees.
Yankees all-world pitcher Mariano Rivera left the field on a cart after apparently twisting a knee while shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice on Thursday night in Kansas City.
Just like the concussion-while-diving injury that sidelined third baseman Eric Chavez on Wednesday, Rivera was hurt doing something he has done thousands of times before – shagging a fly ball during batting practice.
Ironically, it was a fly ball off of the bat of Chavez’s replacement – Jayson Nix – that resulted in Rivera’s injury. The future Hall of Fame lock pitcher appeared to have Nix’s bid for a homer to left-center field measured, but took a misstep as he approached the Kauffman Stadium warning track.
The 42-year old Rivera fell to the ground and immediately grabbed his right knee. Moments later he was carted off of the field.
The YES Network reports that the Yankees closer was examined by Kansas City Royals associate physician Dr. John Noland at the ballpark. The initial diagnosis was a twisted right knee.
Rivera was sent to KU Med-west Hospital for an MRI and the results were not good. The greatest Yankees pitcher ever will miss the next six-to-eight months with a torn ACL and a torn meniscus in his right knee.
At 42, Rivera's Hall of Fame career could be over.
The 12-time All-Star is considered one of the best relief pitchers in baseball history. He holds Major League record for saves (608) and has the second best WHIP in baseball history (0.998) bested only by Addie Joss (0.9678).
As good as Rivera has been in the regular season, he has been even better in the post season. The Yankee legend and last active player to wear No. 42 is 8-1 with a 0.70 ERA in 96 career postseason starts. He has recorded 42 postseason saves over 141 innings, walking 25 while striking out 110.
Rivera blew the save in New York’s opener against the Tampa Bay Rays this year, but rebounded to put up very Mariano Rivera-like numbers. He was 1-1 with a 2.16 ERA with five saves in nine games for the Yankees.
The Yankees open a four-game set against the Royals on Thursday before returning home for a six-game homestand against the Rays and the Seattle Mariners.