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Mariano Rivera says he will pitch in 2013

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera says he will return to the mound by 2013, vowing to overcome a knee injury that figures to end his season.

Rivera had hinted at the start of spring training that he would retire after the 2012 season, and he wasn't sure what he would do after tearing his right anterior cruciate ligament while shagging fly balls during batting practice Thursday.

Back at Kauffman Stadium on Friday, the 42-year-old closer firmly said he will not allow his career to end this way.

"I'm coming back. Write it down in big letters. I'm not going out like this," he said. "This has me thinking, I can't go down like this. If it takes two, three, four, five, seven more (seasons), whatever it takes."

Rivera dabbed tears from his eyes when he spoke Thursday night. He then went back to his hotel room, reflected and made his decision not to retire. He holds outside hope of returning late this season.

"Miracles happen," he said. "I'm a positive man. The only thing is that I feel sorry I let down my teammates. Besides that I'm OK."