"What do you guys got for me?" Mariano Rivera, noticeably happier than he had been some 16 hours earlier, asked a gaggle of reporters yesterday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.

We didn't have much for him. But he had plenty for us, and far more for his teammates, fans and the game of baseball.

Cancel the somber retirement talk, and don't sign David Robertson or Rafael Soriano to a multi-year deal on your fantasy team. In announcing his return for 2013 — and not ruling out a comeback this year, although that appears unlikely — Rivera reaffirmed his identity as the gift that keeps on giving.

"You don't go out like this," he said, sitting in front of his locker, before the Yankees beat the Royals, 6-2, last night. "Not with the injury like that."

This was the Yankees' de facto co-captain, their oldest brother, embracing the challenge he faces after tearing the ACL and meniscus in his right knee. Refusing to give into the fates. And refusing to give up on these Rivera-less Yankees.

"I'm a positive man. I'm OK," he said. "The only thing is that I feel sorry that I let down my teammates. But besides that, I'm OK. And the team will be OK, too."

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