New York Yankees: Team Must Move on Without Mariano Rivera as Closer

Bill PivetzCorrespondent IIIMay 4, 2012

Rivera carted off the field after tearing his ACL.
Rivera carted off the field after tearing his ACL.

It was the injury heard around the world. Well, at least the baseball world.

Mariano Rivera tore his right ACL and meniscus while shagging foul balls before the game Thursday night.

First Chamberlain and now Rivera, Yankees relievers have not had their fair share of good luck.

Rivera is out for the rest of the year and many think his career may be over.

Luckily for Yankees fans, that's not the case. Rivera said Friday afternoon that he plans on returning for the 2013 season.

''This has me thinking,'' Rivera said (via the Associated Press), ''I can't go down like this.''

Until that time, Joe Girardi and the Yankees have a big question to answer: Who is going to replace Rivera for the rest of the year?

David Robertson seems like the popular choice among analysts and fans. He has a 0.00 ERA, seven hits and three walks in 11.0 innings pitched.

Although he's been very limited as a closer, having only three MLB saves, he is the best pitcher the Yankees have in their bullpen.

Since coming to the Yankees, Rafael Soriano hasn't been the pitcher he was with the Tampa Bay Rays only a couple of years ago.

David Phelps is now in the starting rotation, sending Freddy Garcia to help the bullpen. Could Phil Hughes be the next man to join him?

Andy Pettitte is very close to returning to the big leagues. He will most likely take over as the fourth starter as Hughes has been struggling this season.

If the Yankees don't experience any more hardship, their rotation will be CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Pettitte and Phelps. The key relievers should be Hughes in the seventh, Soriano in the eighth and Robertson as the new closer.

With this setup, the Yankees still have a shot at a World Series title. Granted, Robertson is nowhere close to the closer that Rivera is, but he is the best option for the Yankees.

Though, Girardi hasn't named a replacement closer and they could go with the "closer by committee" option, but it's not the best option.

The Yankees have the assets in the bullpen to replace Rivera for the rest of the season, as difficult as that may be.