Yankees closer Rivera says this is final season

The legendary closing pitcher helped the team win five World Series titles. (3/9/13)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Saying he made the decision before arriving at spring training, Mariano Rivera announced Saturday that he will retire at the end of the season and hopes to cap his record-setting career by winning another World Series with the New York Yankees.

Rivera was surrounded by family and teammates when he made the announcement during a news conference at the team's complex. The 43-year-old has a clear vision of how he wants his career to end.

"The last game I hope will be throwing the last pitch in the World Series," he said. "Winning the World Series, that would be my ambition."

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With the entire Yankees' team looking on - including longtime teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte - Rivera said he knew the time was right for his decision.

"I have just a few bullets left," he said.

Rivera holds the career saves record with 608 and has helped the Yankees win five World Series titles. He is regarded as the greatest closer of all time, whether he's throwing his cut fastball in the regular season or postseason.

"We just have a special relationship," Pettitte said. "I don't know how to explain it. Obviously, when you spent as much time together after as many years as we've been together, you just kind of grow a little closer to one another than you would with other teammates. He's always been there for me."

Rivera missed most of last year after tearing his right knee while shagging flyballs during batting practice in early May. Rivera said he would have retired at the end of last season if he had not gotten hurt.
"I didn't want to leave like that," he said. "I felt like I wanted to give everything."

He also said he wanted to give Yankees fans around the major leagues a chance to see him one more time, knowing this will be the end.

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