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Mariano Rivera Has Decided Whether He’ll Retire After This Season ... But He’s Not Telling

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 06:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees throws a pitch against the Detroit Tigers during Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium on October 6, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mariano Rivera

Back in November, Mariano Rivera said that he didn't yet know whether 2012 would be his final season. Said the Yankees closer: "I have one year left. I might call it over. I will know more in spring training." And so spring training has arrived, and Rivera does indeed know more: He says he's already made a decision on whether he's going to retire when his current contract expires at the end of the season. But he's not saying what that decision is, at least not yet.

That said, as Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger put it, Rivera today "sounded like a man at the start of a farewell tour." Uh-oh.

Here's Rivera, from the Daily News, explaining how nothing that happens this season will change his mind.

"Even if I save 90 games. Even if they want to pay as much money as they want to, any team," Rivera said on Monday. "I know what I'm going to do, I'm just not going to tell you.

"I'll tell you when I'm ready,'' he added with a smile. "I'm not going to be baited into telling you anything.''

There's also this line, from ESPN New York, about wanting to retire before his skills deteriorate:

"I don't want to be seen like that," Rivera said. "It is important for me to leave the game on top if God allows me to do that, just finish on top, knowing I did what I was called to do."

Rivera, who said he's already discussed all this with his family, said he'd probably reveal his decision at the end of the season. (He also said he knows what he wants to do after his playing career is over.) In the meantime, Joe Girardi might want to start looking for an opportunity to fulfill Rivera's wish and let him play center field.

Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images