Rivera congratulated by President of Panama
NEW YORK (AP) -- When the phone rang this time for Mariano Rivera, it wasn't a call to the bullpen.
President Ricardo Martinelli of Panama called the New York Yankees closer to congratulate him on his record-setting save, a gesture that Rivera certainly appreciated.
"It's an honor, it's a pleasure and it's a privilege," he said Tuesday. "It was great."
Rivera, born in Panama City, said President Martinelli thanked him and wished him good luck. The pitcher said it was the second time he had spoken with President Martinelli, who took office on July 1, 2009. The other occasion was during a visit to New York.
Rivera said he also received a congratulatory text message from Trevor Hoffman, who held the previous major league mark of 601 career saves before Rivera notched No. 602 on Monday against the Minnesota Twins.
Hoffman released a statement Monday congratulating Rivera on his achievement, and the Yankees reliever saw those comments on television.
"It was nice," Rivera said. "Like I said before, I have tremendous respect for him."
The 41-year-old Rivera celebrated with teammates Monday night at a party for longtime athletic trainer Gene Monahan in a steakhouse at Yankee Stadium. Monahan is retiring after this season, his 49th with the team.
So, was all the chatter there about save No. 602?
"No, no, no. Everybody was talking about Geno. That's the most important thing," Rivera said.
Never one to seek attention for himself, Rivera is more than ready to move on and focus on the playoff chase.
"We've got business to take care of tonight. So I mean, yesterday is over. Tonight is a new game. We have to be ready for the game. We don't have time to be thinking of what happened yesterday," Rivera said. "I have to move on and concentrate on what really we're here for, and that's the pennant race."
NOTES: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said backup catcher Francisco Cervelli still has some concussion symptoms and is scheduled to see a neurologist on Friday. "I'm not sure we're going to get him back," Girardi said. ... Alex Rodriguez was the DH against Tampa Bay. Girardi said he doesn't feel as though it's a good idea to play the third baseman in the field six or seven days in a row at this point. "I just thought tonight might be a good break," Girardi said. ... RHP Phil Hughes was scheduled to start the opener of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader, with CC Sabathia going in the nightcap. But before Tuesday night's game, Girardi wouldn't commit to Hughes, who had back spasms after his bullpen session Friday in Toronto. "He's better, but I can't tell you that he's 100 percent yet," Girardi said. Hughes was scratched from his scheduled turn Monday against Minnesota and pushed back two days.
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