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Mariano Rivera: ‘I’m Not Going Out Like This’

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 23:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees throws against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on April 23, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

This morning, we wrote about what a shame it would be if Mariano Rivera's Hall of Fame career ended as a result of the injury he suffered yesterday in Kansas City — the one that will likely end his 2012 season. But speaking with reporters today, Rivera didn't leave much doubt about whether he planned to return to the mound. Here's Rivera, via Mark Feinsaind of the Daily News: "I am coming back. Write it down in big letters ... I'm not going out like this."

Saying that and doing it are two different things, of course, but if there's a 42-year-old capable of bouncing back from such a serious injury and playing major-league baseball, you'd have to think it's Rivera. That he made his proclamation so soon after the injury suggests he didn't have to wrestle with the decision all that much: Rivera doesn't want his career to end this way any more than baseball fans want it to end this way. (Rivera's already pretty much universally respected as is, but if he does indeed make a comeback — and if he can again pitch at a high level when he does — his legend will grow even larger.)

Rivera, a free agent this season, appeared in good spirits, according to the News. When asked how he knows the Yankees would want him back, Rivera said with a laugh that "They'll want the old goat." And so a day that began with such depressing tabloid covers ends with a reason to be hopeful. Rivera says he'll pitch again. Thank goodness.

Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images