Mariano Rivera confirmed the reports of complications during his initial right knee exam and said that a blood clot was discovered by doctors in his right calf.
“I saw the doctor Monday and mentioned to the doctor about my right calf,” Rivera said. “I was sore and I didn’t know why. He said let me make sure you don’t have any blood clot. So I asked him the result and it turns out I have a blood clot on my calf.”
Rivera confirmed a report in the New York Post that cited his agent Fernando Cuza and also said steps have begun to fix it. The clot is expected to completely heal with the aid of blood-thinning medication, but until it does and until Rivera’s knee is stronger, he cannot undergo surgery on his torn ACL.
“I was scared,” Rivera said. “I’ve never heard anything good about blood clots.”
Rivera said he did not have any idea about clotting, but sensed something was amiss by looking at his calf.
“The reason why I knew was because my calf, the muscle was hard and sore,” Rivera said. “But I didn’t ask. They don’t know if it happened after the injury or before.”
Rivera walked into a fairly packed Yankee Stadium interview room on crutches and spoke at the podium for roughly 25 minutes. During that time, he sounded upbeat even though the blood clot will delay his surgery for a few weeks.
“Maybe it is a blessing,” Rivera said. “I always feel like that. I always said that things happen for a good reason. So I was more concerned for the blood clot than the knee. For a minute I was like ‘What else is going to happen?’ but again to me it’s a blessing and I take it the way it is.
“I didn’t ask why it happened. I didn’t ask how it happened. I just asked how we will deal with it.”
While the injury will keep him sidelined for the rest of the year, Rivera still plans on making a comeback next year. That includes continuing to shag fly balls during practice, which he has done without injury until last Thursday in Kansas City.
It also turned out that returning is what Rivera planned all along even as he played coy with his future plans before the injury.
“I was leaning towards coming back,” Rivera said. “I was feeling strong with that. It’s hard. I was wondering how I feel, the traveling and the games. It’s the same. The traveling I hate it and the playing I love it.”
In the meantime, Rivera will continue recovering while spending his time watching David Robertson protect a majority of the ninth-inning leads. Rivera said that he watched Robertson escape the bases-loaded jam Tuesday night from the confines of his living room.
“I will try to stay with the club, but also I have to focus on myself,” Rivera said. “For the first time in my life, I think I’m going to be more selfish, trying to do what I need to do to get back.
“The situation he was in yesterday, it was not easy, but he came through. That’s what I’ve seen from him before.”
Chavez not quite ready to return
Eric Chavez does not quite remember the dive at third base that caused whiplash and his spot on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion. He does seem close to returning, though the holdup is caused by a questionable part on his concussion test.
“Most of it looked good,” Chavez said. “With the concussions kind of going on they’re taking everything with a lot of precautions. If I have to re-take the test, I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ll just keep taking it until I pass it I guess.”
The tests that Chavez is undergoing consist of a lot of memorization. Chavez said that a test can consist of memorizing words, colors and shapes and that the cognitive exams are difficult.
Chavez was removed from last Wednesday’s game in the fifth inning during an at-bat when he began feeling woozy and though the initial dive did not appear dangerous to his head, it was explained to him by doctors.
“The way the doctor explained it to me,” Chavez said. “My head was tilted a little bit and I kind of had a whiplash reaction. He says if your neck is turned, you’re more likely to have a concussion than if it’s straight on. I pretty much knew just the way my brain felt when I hit myself, it just didn’t feel right.”
Chavez also said that he felt like he could play tonight if he was cleared.
“I do,” he said. “A couple of days ago I probably wouldn’t have said that. I did some exercise stuff yesterday. I didn’t do any baseball activities, but the way I came back today, I felt pretty confident.”
Follow Yankees beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.