June 2012

Rivera knee surgery went better than expected

ATLANTA –- Surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Mariano Rivera’s right knee went off better than expected on Tuesday when no repairable damage was found in the meniscus in the damaged knee, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

That was good news.

“The less you have to do, the better off you are,” Girardi said before Tuesday’s rematch against the Braves at Turner Field. “I’d think that’s good news. I’m sure Mo is anxious to get going.”

The 42-year-old Rivera tore the ACL and reportedly damaged the meniscus in his right knee while shagging fly balls in the outfield May 3 before a game in Kansas City.

He would have had the surgery sooner, but doctors discovered a blood clot in his right calf after the knee injury and he had to take blood-thinning medication to eradicate the clot. When that was fully dissolved he was able to undergo the knee surgery, which was performed in New York by Dr. David Altchek, the Mets’ team physician.

“He got it repaired,” Girardi said. “It’s another step toward him coming back. We’re all expecting to see Mo next year. I don’t think we’re going to see him pitch again this year.”

Rivera, the Major League all-time leader with 608 regular-season saves and 42 more in the playoffs, tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that the surgery had gone fine.

“My surgery was a success, it went perfectly,” he wrote. “I am looking forward to beginning my rehab soon. Thanks as always for your prayers.”

Girardi said there was no timeline for Rivera’s return. Rivera had said in the days after sustaining the injury that he wasn’t going to end his career on a sour injury note and would work hard to return next season.

“A lot of guys, it’s whatever their bodies allow them to do,” Girardi said. “They can give you a timetable, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be before or after. I think we expect him next year.”

Gardner mum on injury status

ATLANTA –- If Yankees left-fielder Brett Gardner knows what the outcome will be of the examinations this week on his strained right elbow, he wasn’t saying in the clubhouse prior to Tuesday night’s rematch against the Braves at Turner Field.

He saw Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion on Monday and is scheduled to be examined by Reds orthopedic physician Timothy Kremchek for a third stab at it on Thursday. Surgery is certainly a possibility, delaying his return until well into the second half of the season.

“I prefer not to talk about what Andrews said at this point,” Gardner said. “I’m going to see Kremchek on Thursday and I’ll tell you guys what the decision is after that. I want to get all the information together before I say anything. Hopefully it will be positive and we’ll go from there.”

Gardner has been on the disabled list since making a diving catch at Yankee Stadium against the Twins on April 17. He’s tried to recoup twice, but has shut it down both times. The elbow injury is particularly bothering him when he takes his swings at the plate.

He played in nine games and was batting .321 at the time of the injury. Gardner said that the goal undoubtedly is to play again sometime this year.

“That’s what the hope is. That’s what it certainly is in my mind,” Gardner said. “I’ve done everything I can do and the training staff has done everything it can possibly do over the last seven weeks to get me back out on the field. It hasn’t worked out the way we thought, but hopefully I’ll be back soon.”