Yankees fans had better get their fill of Mariano Rivera this year if the reports coming out of Yankees camp are true.
Jack Curry of the YES Network reported on Twitter Monday afternoon that "one Yankee executive who has had discussions with Rivera said he has observed signs that 2012 will be it for Mariano."
Rivera made his first appearance at Yankees camp Monday and spoke to the media for the first time. When asked if he knew when he would retire, his response was "I know now. I just don't want to tell you."
Rivera went on to say that he will make any possible announcement on his decision after the season.
This is the final year of Rivera's two-year contract signed before the 2011 season. He will make $15 million, though all the money is deferred.
"It is hard when you have the ability to continue and you have to make
that decision," Rivera told reporters. "It is hard. For me, baseball is not
Rivera was explicit in saying he didn't want to keep playing if he didn't think he could be his usual, Hall of Fame self.
"I won't be there dragging my arm to pitch," Rivera said. "I'm not going
to start pitching with my left arm. I want to be able to compete."
On the other hand, Rivera is entering his 18th season in the league, a time when no one thought he could still be an effective closer years ago. Instead, he is coming off one of his best seasons. He had 44 saves and a 1.91 ERA and 0.897 WHIP, the fifth-best of his career.
Rivera also broke Trevor Hoffman's all-time saves record last season.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.