(Sports Network) - Mariano Rivera returns to Kansas City for the first time
since suffering a torn ACL on Friday when the New York Yankees open a three-
game series against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
In what was supposed to be the final year of Rivera's remarkable career, his
season was cut short last May 3 when his knee buckled while shagging fly balls
in the outfield during batting practice.
The future Hall of Famer did not want the final image of him being carted off
a field, so he returned for a 19th season. And he hasn't missed a beat.
Rivera picked up his 13th save in as many opportunities on Thursday, as the
Yankees claimed a series win in Colorado with a 3-1 victory over the Rockies
at Coors Field.
The 43-year-old Rivera has saved five of the Yankees' last six wins, nine of
their past 11 and 11 of their previous 14. His 13 saves to start the year is
the second-longest season-opening streak of his career. He saved his first 28
"The only thing that will come back to me is just knowing that I got hurt
there," Rivera said about his return to Kansas City. "But I mean, I will enjoy
it definitely because that moment and seeing where I am right now, that's what
is gratifying. I'm thanking the Lord for me being here."
Rivera has also converted 27 straight saves against the Royals, dating back to
August 18, 1998.
Hoping to give Rivera a chance to pitch on Friday will be Yankees' starter
Phil Hughes, who is coming off his best effort of the season. Hughes picked up
his first win of the season on Saturday against Oakland, as he scattered four
hits and struck out nine over eight scoreless innings to improve to 1-2 to go
along with a 3.60 ERA.
"I feel like I'm kind of clicking right now with what I'm trying to do," said
Hughes, who has a 1.93 ERA over his last four starts. "I feel like I'm
executing pitches at a better rate than I did early on. As long as I can hit
the glove and stay there, and maintain my velocity and strength late in the
game, then I feel like I'll be pretty good."
Hughes has faced the Royals seven times (6 starts) and is 4-1 against them
with a 5.51 ERA.
Kansas City, meanwhile, salvaged the finale of its three-game set with the
Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, as Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer belted two-run
homers in the fourth inning, while Jeremy Guthrie remained perfect on the
season, leading the Royals to a 6-2 win.
Mike Moustakas added a solo shot for the Royals, who avoided a sweep and ended
a three-game losing streak.
Guthrie (5-0) gave up seven hits and two runs -- one earned -- over his six-
"When you're part of a meaningful game that's a positive," said Guthrie. "We
had a nice April and we're trying to stay consistent here and compete against
good teams and do what we're capable of doing."
Heading to the hill for the Royals on Friday will be righty Wade Davis, who is
2-2 with a 4.75 ERA. Davis did not get a decision on Sunday against Chicago,
despite surrendering just a run and five hits in six innings of a 6-5 win.
Davis is 2-3 in 10 games (6 starts) against the Yankees with a 3.96 ERA.
The Yankees took four of seven from the Royals last season.
The Sports Network