Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, along with first baseman Justin Morneau and closer Glen Perkins, presented Mariano Rivera with a rocking chair made of Twins bats broken by Rivera’s pitches. “We call this the ‘Chair of Broken Dreams,’ ’’ Gardenhire said.
MINNEAPOLIS — The injuries keep coming for the Yankees, but at least they have some things going for them — CC Sabathia, Robinson Cano, the inept Twins and Mariano Rivera to close the deal.
On the day Manny Ramirez landed with yet another ballclub, signing a minor league deal with the Rangers, Rivera continued his dignified departure along his MLB Victory Tour, closing out Sabathia’s 200th win last night, a 3-2 Yankees’ victory over the Twins at Target Field.
This is Rivera’s last Yankees team. This team is nothing like those Dynasty Yankees, but this team is special to Rivera in many ways because it has battled through so much.
“We don’t have the team that we usually have,’’ Rivera told the Post, “But what we have is what we have and this is my team. I think they’re great. These guys are giving us everything that they have. I can’t ask for more. These guys play hard, you can’t ask for more.
“You just want to appreciate the game, appreciate the players that you are playing with and knowing they are giving everything.’’
All that speaks volumes about Mariano Rivera.
“He’s unbelievable,’’ Sabathia said, “and to still be able to pitch a such a high-level. Usually when you get to these last-round guys, they are not performing like he is, but he’s throwing harder than ever.’’
On Tuesday, Rivera was given a rocking chair crafted from broken bats belonging to Minnesota hitters, bats broken by Rivera, according to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
“That’s the best one yet,’’ Rivera said of the gifts that have come his way. “There was a lot of thought put into this gift.’’
Much thought has been put into his retirement tour. Rivera said he has received so much from this long goodbye.
Jason Zillo, the Yankees director of communications and media relations has been on the tour with Rivera, organizing each stop, like a Tuesday visit with longtime Twins employees. Zillo has witnessed Rivera’s gentle blend of kindness, humility and thankfulness.
“A lot of players say at the end of their career that they will really get to appreciate it after they’re done,’’ Zillo said. “Well, Mo is appreciating it now while he is still living it.’’
Rivera is straddling the life of being a superstar and a retiring legend. He still is not ready for that rocking chair.
Rivera already has 28 saves (636 lifetime) and when he gets to 30 that will mark the 15th season he has had at least 30 saves, which would break a tie with Trevor Hoffman for the most such seasons all time. Rivera also has a lifetime ERA of 2.20, the lowest such mark all-time with 1,000 innings pitched, fractionally ahead of Eddie Cicotte (2.20) and just ahead of Jim Scott (2.26) and Babe Ruth (2.28), according to Elias Sports Bureau.
That is some heady stuff. That is Mariano Rivera.
He loves every minute of his final season. During batting practice he tossed baseballs to fans. After the game he playfully high-fived Travis Hafner’s young son Blake.
When Rivera was asked if this feels like his last go-round, he said, “I’m really not thinking about it at all. It’s more of a joyous thing than anything else, I am enjoying every minute of it. And all the people I’ve met, they all bring their different feelings and personality.
“What I get from them is that they all appreciate what we do, that’s the beauty of it and I appreciate what they do. I get more than what I am giving.’’
That is the perfect way to go out.
With Ramirez signing with another team, which happens often in this game, does that make his journey even much more special?
“I respect whatever a guy does, if he wants to hang on for the longest time, that’s fine,’’ Rivera said. “But I don’t want to do that.
Rivera then smiled and said, “I’m not going nowhere. The only place I’m going from here is home.’’