Yanks Closer Mariano Rivera: I Did Not Initiate Talks With the Red Sox

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New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera swelled with pinstripe pride at the Claudio Reyna Foundation charity auction last night, happy to be re-signed with the team and batting down rumors that he had approached the Boston Red Sox about an offer.

The Yankees have been my family for my whole life,” the baseball great said at Whiskey Park bar at Central Park South Tuesday night. “It's a no-brainer to do that (re-sign). I was glad it happened and that it happened under the radar.”

Rivera also said that reports that he initiated contact with the Red Sox for a potential deal are “false,” insisting that “they just made an offer” before he agreed to a two-year, $30 million contract with the Yankees.

Under the radar” was quite different from the way star short-stop Derek Jeter's contract was reported, and the team captain said at a recent press conference that he was angered by his negative portrayal in the papers and wished the negotiation deals weren't so public.

Rivera said he had no opinion of how his teammate's contract was handled because “I don't know nothing about that stuff,” but said he was happy he'd be seeing the Yankees captain on the field with him this upcoming season.

I know [Jeter's contract negotiations] got a lot of press, but I don't know what happened there because I wasn't the one doing it. But I'm glad everything worked out fine. Everything was okay.”

The closer stopped by to support his friend Claudio Reyna and his foundation that holds soccer programs for underprivileged youth in the City and Nassau County. Rivera donated several items for the silent auction, including one of his jerseys that was auctioned for $4,700. A signed mitt, auctioned live, went for $2,400.

Rivera said that although baseball is his No. 1 sport, his son has taken a liking to another type of ball game.

He plays soccer. Baseball is second place for him. But I play sports with my kids as much as I can, whatever sport they play. I support him,” said Rivera, who added that Reyna's foundation was doing a “tremendous job” for keeping “kids away from the streets.”

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