The great Mariano Rivera is getting set to close his career.
The Yankees reliever plans to announce this weekend that he will retire after the 2013 season, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press Thursday.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because there was no announcement.
A news conference was called for Saturday at the Yankees’ spring training complex in Tampa.
Rivera, 43, is baseball’s career saves leader with 608. He missed most of last season after he tore a ligament in his right knee while catching fly balls during batting practice May 3. He had surgery the next month.
Rivera returned home to Panama this week for a personal matter, and is expected to rejoin the Yankees Saturday. There is a good chance Rivera would pitch in an exhibition game for the first time this spring later that day.
Hank Steinbrenner declined to say what would be announced Saturday. But the Yankees cochairman said he would like Rivera to remain involved with the team when he does end his playing career.
‘‘Greatest closer of all time. No question in my mind,’’ Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
‘‘At times it seemed like it wasn’t fair. That’s how good Mo was. He was so dominant.’’
Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who had offseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow, threw a 49-pitch bullpen session in Tampa and is scheduled for a simulated game Sunday.
“Getting stronger every time out and not feeling any pain is encouraging,’’ Sabathia said.
Injured teammate Mark Teixeira, out 8-10 weeks with a strained tendon in his right wrist, said he expects to resume limited drills in the next week or two. The first baseman said surgery will not be required.
Furcal out for season
Cardinals shortstop Rafael Furcal will undergo ligament replacement surgery in his right elbow and expects to miss the 2013 season. Furcal made the decision after visiting Dr. James Andrews’s clinic in Pensacola, Fla., Wednesday.
Furcal, 35, strained the elbow ligament near the end of last season. There was concern then that he’d need Tommy John surgery, but Furcal chose to try offseason rehab instead. A bone spur in his elbow complicated the rehab.
Furcal expects the bone spur will be removed at the same time he undergoes ligament surgery, which is expected to happen next week.
‘‘I think going into this we always knew this was a plausible outcome,’’ general manager John Mozeliak said.
New deal for Sale
The White Sox and lefthander Chris Sale agreed on a five-year, $32.5 million contract. Sale will receive $850,000 in 2013, $3.5 million in 2014, $6 million in 2015, $9.15 million in 2016, and $12 million in 2017. Sale went 17-8 last season . . . Pitching for the first time since signing a $175 million, seven-year contract last month, Felix Hernandez gave the split-squad Mariners two strong innings in a 12-2 exhibition win over the Royals in Surprise, Ariz. It was Kansas City’s first loss this spring after an 11-0 start. Hernandez allowed one run and two hits, striking out two and walking none . . . Lefthander Drew Smyly whiffed four in four innings as he extended his scoreless streak to nine innings, strengthening his bid for the final spot in Detroit’s rotation as the Tigers beat the Braves, 9-2, Kissimmee, Fla.
Scorpion 1, Melvin 0
Brewers general manager Bob Melvin spent three hours in a Phoenix emergency room Wednesday night after he was stung by an Arizona bark scorpion inside his spring training condominium. Melvin said he was eating dinner with his wife when they saw a bug on the floor. He reached down with a tissue to pick up what he thought was a spider and was stung on his left middle finger. He said his hand started swelling almost immediately and he decided to head for a hospital. Melvin was back at the team complex Thursday.
Italy rallies for win
Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run double off Sergio Romo in the ninth inning and Jason Grilli escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half as Italy rallied to beat Mexico, 6-5, in Scottsdale, Ariz., in the opening game of Pool D in the World Baseball Classic. Italy got a tying two-run homer from Drew Butera in the fourth off Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves, who gave up five hits in three innings. Aceves was followed to the mound by Red Sox teammate Oscar Villarreal, who worked a scoreless seventh. Italy faces Canada on Friday . . . The United States plays Mexico Friday night in its Pool D opener in Phoenix. Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will get the ball. Under WBC rules, starters are limited to 65 pitches in the first round. ‘‘If I’m throwing 65 pitches and can execute 60 good knuckleballs,’’ Dickey said, ‘‘then we’re probably going to be in a good position.’’ . . . Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie is off Canada’s roster because of a rib injury. Lawrie felt discomfort in his left side during Canada’s exhibition against the Reds Wednesday. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos expects Lawrie to be out 2-3 weeks.