Mariano Rivera retirement announcement expected Saturday

Mariano Rivera: Retirement is coming in 2013, says AP. This will be New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera's last season. He is expected to announces his retirement after 19 seasons.

(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera pitches during a workout at baseball spring training last month in Tampa, Fla.

A person familiar with the decision says that New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera plans to retire after the 2013 season. Rivera is considered one of the greatest relief pitchers in major league baseball's history.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity because there had been no official announcement. A news conference was expected Saturday morning at the Yankees' spring training complex in Tampa, Fla.

The 43-year-old right-hander is baseball's saves leader with 608. He missed most of last season after he tore a ligament in his right knee while catching fly balls during batting practice.

Rivera has returned home to his native Panama for a personal matter, and is expected to rejoin the team Saturday.

In his 18-year baseball career, Mariano Rivera has established himself was one the best relief pitchers in baseball. His ability to close out a game is considered the key to many of the post-regular season wins for the New York Yankees in the 1900s and 2000s. He was on five Yankee World Series winning teams. He was an All-Star in 12 seasons. 

Rivera has a record-setting number of games saved - at least 25 – in 15 consecutive seasons. His ERA came in under 2.00 in 11 seasons, also a record.

"I admire his ability to compete in an almost relaxed state in the highest-pressure situations," said Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, according to USA Today.

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