Danbury, CT, United States (4E Sports) – New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera will start throwing program next week as part of his comeback bid from a season-ending knee injury.
The 43-year-old Rivera said he will begin his throwing session earlier than usual to compensate for all the time he missed last season.
Rivera said he’s around 95 percent but assured fans that he would be 100 percent by the time spring training ends.
“It needs more strengthening. The five percent will come quick,” said Rivera, who pitched a total of 8 1/3 innings in 2012.
Rivera last pitched on a major league mound on April 30, 2012 against Baltimore. A few days after, Rivera tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Kansas City while shagging fly balls.
Rivera agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract plus incentives earlier this winter. In 2012, he made $15 million.
Rivera recently took part in a clinic and autograph session at the Frozen Ropes baseball facility in Danbury.
During the program, one of the children asked Rivera if this will be his final season.
“There is media here,” Rivera said, drawing laughs. “I don’t know. I have another contract for this year. I don’t know what is going to happen next year.”
Danbury is located near Newtown, where 20 children were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.