By DAVE SKRETTA
AP Sports Writer
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Mariano Rivera tore a ligament in his
right knee while shagging balls during batting practice Thursday
night, casting a pall over the New York Yankees even before their
4-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals.
The 42-year-old right-hander’s leg caught on the field where the
grass meets the dirt, causing his knee to buckle. Rivera fell into
the outfield wall and down on the ground, where he grimaced in pain
while teammates and training staff ran out to see him.
Rivera was carted from the field and taken for an MRI exam, and
Royals head physician Dr. Vincent Key diagnosed a torn ACL after
looking at scans of the knee.
“I thought it wasn’t that bad, but it’s torn,” Rivera said
after the game, pausing several times in the Yankees clubhouse to
compose himself. “Have to fix it.”
Rivera said that he never gave a thought to getting hurt while
chasing balls during batting practice. It’s something that he’s
done his entire career to keep in shape.
He also refused to say whether his career is over. The five-time
World Series champion has said he’ll make that decision after the
“At this point, I don’t know,” Rivera said. “At this point, I
don’t know. Going to have to face this first. It all depends on how
the rehab is going to happen, and from there, we’ll see.”
Manager Joe Girardi also dismissed any notion that the 12-time
All-Star could have prevented the injury, reasoning that Rivera’s
pregame routine helped to make him one of the game’s stars.
“You’ve all seen Mo run around here for what, 40 years?”
Girardi said. “You can fall off the curb or down stairs and get
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez was watching from behind home plate
when Rivera went down, and immediately said, “Oh, my God.”
Rodriguez said later that the injury changed the entire tone of the
clubhouse, and it didn’t improve once the game got going.
Danny Duffy (2-2) went six strong innings before turning it over
to the Kansas City bullpen, which maintained a one-run lead until
Jonathan Broxton came on to close the ninth.
He allowed a leadoff single to Derek Jeter, his fourth hit of
the night, and walked Curtis Granderson. Mark Teixeira followed
with a liner to second base, but Chris Getz snagged it in the dirt
and fired to Alcides Escobar to start a double play.
Jeter advanced to third for Rodriguez, who hit a chopper to
Moustakas at third base. He made a bare-handed grab and threw out
A-Rod by a step to preserve the victory.
Broxton earned his fifth save and Kansas City snapped a 10-game
home losing streak.
Moustakas homered in the second off David Phelps (0-1), who was
making his first major league start, and added a two-run single in
the fifth to create some much-needed breathing room.
None of that mattered much to the Yankees afterward.
“That’s horrible news,” Broxton said. “As many saves as he’s
been out there and as good an athlete as he is, I just hate for bad
news. All I can do is wish him the best.”
Bullpen coach Mike Harkey was near Rivera when he went down, and
was the first to whistle for help. Girardi was watching batting
practice from behind home plate and started running down the third
base line, cutting across the outfield to get to his closer.
Harkey and Girardi helped to carry Rivera to the cart, gently
setting him into the back with his knee propped up. The cart
rounded the warning track before disappearing up a tunnel.
Rivera was examined by Royals associate physician Dr. Joe Noland
and team trainers before he was taken to KU MedWest for an MRI
exam, which took place during the game. The initial diagnosis was a
twisted right knee, and for a while Girardi was optimistic.
That all changed once the MRI exam was taken.
“This is bad. There’s no question about it,” Girardi said.
“This is not what you want to come to Kansas City to hear.”
The Royals became the third team in major league history to lose
their first 10 home games when they dropped every one during their
first homestand. They started to turn things around on a
rain-shortened 4-3 road trip, and kept the momentum going against
the struggling Yankees.
Mark Teixeira drove in a pair of runs for New York, which has
dropped three straight and failed to score more than three runs for
the fourth straight game.
Kansas City came out swinging from the start against Phelps, who
had appeared six times out of the bullpen before getting the
starting nod for the first time.
The Royals left a runner stranded on third in the first inning
before Moustakas went deep with one out in the second.
The Yankees couldn’t come all the way back against the Kansas
City bullpen, whose bend-but-don’t-break work over the final 3 2-3
innings left Duffy a winner.
Notes: Jeter is batting .404 this season. … The Royals placed
Yuniesky Betancourt (right ankle sprain) on the DL purchased the
contract of INF Irving Falu from Triple-A Omaha. … Yankees 3B
Eric Chavez was released from the hospital after having
concussion-like symptoms Wednesday night. He was put on the
seven-day concussion DL and Nix signed to a major league contract.
… LHP CC Sabathia will pitch Friday night for New York. LHP Bruce
Chen goes for Kansas City.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)