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Mariano Rivera to start throwing soon, knee feels '95 percent'

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer
Rivera's getting closer to his return to throwing. (US Presswire)

As we slog through the boring part of the MLB offseason concerning all things non-Hall of Fame, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera continues to rehab his surgically repaired ACL. From the sounds of things according to Bryan Hoch (who covers the Yankees for, he's not far off from starting his throwing program, which means he'd easily be ready for opening day.

Rivera tore his ACL in early May last season, so returning for opening day -- 11 months later -- is pretty realistic, assuming no setbacks.

Rivera, 43, closed five of his six save chances last season with a 2.16 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and eight strikeouts in 8 1/3 innings. In 2011, Rivera had 44 saves with a 1.91 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 60 strikeouts in 61 1/3 innings.

And, no, this wouldn't be news if it were anyone else. When you're the career saves leader -- and a surefire Hall of Famer -- you get mentioned more often than others. That's how it works.

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