Rivera, who will likely do a major league tour and be honored in various cities, said of his return to the majors, “Not really [different]. The only difference was I waited almost a year. It felt the same. It was wonderful to be there.
“Andy was tremendous,” Rivera said. “That’s the Andy we know.”
Rivera said he had a lot of emotions as he took the mound, but “you have to control them. Still have to finish the game. It was wonderful.”
He acknowledged he might have been a little nervous early on, walking Dustin Pedroia, the first batter he faced. But after he retired Mike Napoli, he said, “I was OK.”
The Red Sox scored a run when Gomes doubled down the left-field line, and Will Middlebrooks grounded out. Longtime observers of Rivera said that it’s very rare that any hitter pulls the ball on him like Gomes did.
He struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. to end the game.
Asked if there was a time he didn’t think he’d make it back, Rivera said, “There were times because the therapy and the pain I wondered if it were worth it coming back. But at the same time, the love, the passion, and drive I have for the game motivated me to keep going.”