The all-time saves leader said that he expects to resume throwing in about a week, estimating that his surgically repaired right knee is now "95 percent" healed.
"It’s not 100 percent. It would be, I would say, 95 percent," Rivera said. "By the time Spring Training starts, it’ll feel 100 percent … It needs more strengthening. The five percent will come quick."
Hoch adds that Rivera expects to have a "normal" spring training, and that he will be ready to go on Opening Day against the Red Sox.
The 43-year-old recently signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Yankees that includes performance incentives should he reach certain plateaus. With Rafael Soriano likely playing elsewhere in 2013, New York is relying on Rivera to return form and give the club just one more lights-out season.
Now an 18-year veteran -- all of which has been with New York -- Rivera owns a career 2.21 ERA, 8.3 K/9 rate, and 0.5 HR/9 rate along with an MLB-record 608 saves. The sure-fire Hall of Famer and 13-time All-Star will likely hang up the towel after the 2013 season.