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KANSAS CITY, MO - MAY 4:  Mariano Rivera #42 of the New York Yankees is interviewed outside of team's clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium May 4, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. Rivera tore an ACL while shagging balls during batting practice before a game against the Kansas City Royals on May 3.  (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) Mariano Rivera, in May.

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Mariano Rivera Says His Goal Is a Return in 2012

Mariano Rivera has suggested before that he believes there's a chance he'll pitch again in 2012: In early June, when the date for his surgery was set, he was asked if there was a chance he'd be back before the end of this season, and he said that he didn't want to think about it, but that "miracles happen." Fast forward to last week, when Rivera's rehab doctor told the Post, "Right now, he’s shut down until next year," but added that Rivera was ahead of schedule in his recovery and that "If I was putting money on it, I would put my money on Mo."

Anyway, yesterday Rivera said in a radio interview that he considers a return this season his goal. From Michael Kay's radio show, as transcribed by Sports Radio Interviews:

Is there a chance you can pitch before the end of the year based off the story by Joel Sherman in the New York Post?
“That’s my goal. Definitely, that’s my goal. I am not thinking about it because if it doesn’t happen I’d be disappointed. So, I am taking it day by day. I am working hard, I don’t want to put something in my mind. I want to make sure I do my things first. Focused, optimism, confidence. Whatever the Lord allows it to happen it will happen.”

Are you ahead of schedule in your rehabilitation? I read somewhere that the doctors claim you are in a such good shape at your age that you are ahead of schedule?
“Yeah definitely. It’s going much quicker than what we were thinking. Everything, the surgery, the knee, the way the cut healed and everything. They can’t believe it’s going so quick like this.”

Are you doing any throwing? Are you allowed to keep your arm in shape?
“That’s one [question] I am gonna pass.”

Is there a chance you could pitch in September?
“I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t answer that. I would say I don’t know. I want to be there now. If there is any chance? Only God knows.”

Having said that, this is still a long shot, and Rivera's optimism, even when paired with reports of his ahead-of-schedule recovery, only means so much. After all, around the same time Rivera's rehab doctor spoke with the Post, Brian Cashman told the paper that "in terms of 2012, he’s out."

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Photo: Ed Zurga/Getty Images