Mariano Rivera said that he "left everything on the field" Thursday night in the Bronx. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Thursday night's emotional Bronx send-off will remain the last time Yankees great Mariano Rivera pitches in an MLB game.
Rivera told reporters on Saturday in Houston that he has chosen not to play against the Astros this weekend, explaining that his arm is sore and that his walk off the Yankee Stadium mound was "the perfect moment."
Heading into the series, Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave the all-times saves leader the choice to either pitch or play center field, something he has always wanted to do.
But after Rivera initially declared himself unavailable for just Saturday's game, Girardi sensed that the 43-year-old wants Thursday's moment to be his last, telling reporters, "I think he wants it to end that way."
LEMIRE: On a night filled with cheers and tears, Mariano Rivera says one last goodbye to Bronx
From MLB.com's Bryan Hoch:
“I’m done, guys. I’m done. I gave everything that I have,” Rivera said. “I think Thursday was the game that I left everything on the field.”
Rivera said that he has been pitching with “tremendous soreness in my arm,” and that “I was giving everything. I left it there.” He said that giving the ball to Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter at the conclusion of Thursday’s appearance against the Rays gave him complete closure.
“I know it was the perfect moment. It was something I would have never expected,” Rivera said, adding, “I think I squeezed every ounce of fuel out of my tank. It is empty. I have nothing left.”
Rivera will retire with an 82-60 record, an all-time high 652 career saves, a 2.21 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. He finishes his final season with 44 saves in 51 opportunities, a 6-2 record and a 2.11 ERA.
VERDUCCI: Exit Sandman: Baseball bids adieu to Mariano Rivera