Rivera would keep Boone, says earlier remarks out of context

FILE - Hall of Fame baseball player Mariano Rivera speaks to reporters at a COVID-19 vaccination site at Yankee Stadium, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in the Bronx borough of New York. Rivera says he would keep Aaron Boone as New York Yankees manager and remarks he made earlier this week were taken out of context. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File) (Mary Altaffer, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mariano Rivera says he would keep Aaron Boone as the New York Yankees' manager and that remarks he made earlier this week were taken out of context.

The Hall of Fame reliever told The Associated Press on Thursday that he was speaking generically about teams and managers when he answered questions Tuesday during a videoconference session with Panamanian business executives.

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“I said when a team like this, the New York Yankees, is expected to win, the season that they had, and they don’t make it to the end, always the manager is the one that always ends up paying,” Rivera said during a telephone interview with the AP.

“Although the manager doesn’t hit, the manager doesn’t pitch, the manager doesn’t run, the manager doesn’t do nothing but manage and make sure everybody’s ready to play, unfortunately they never fire the whole team, they always fire the manager," he said. "I was giving a generic estimation. And obviously they took it out of context.”

Rivera said he does not advocate for a manager switch: “I don't have to change. Who I am to say?"

During Tuesday's videoconference, a recording of which was posted online by ESPN, Rivera said in Spanish: “If I’m the owner, he wouldn’t stay. ... Obviously all blame points at the manager, but players also have to do their job. ... Sometimes when things don’t come out the way we want them to be, the blame falls on the manager. And someone has to pay for the blame, the players won’t get fired. The manager is the one that always gets fired. You try to do something to try fix things.”

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner said Wednesday he plans to have Boone return for a sixth season as manager.

Rivera retired after the 2013 season and a 19-year big-league career, all with the Yankees.

He said he was asked three questions, the first involved whether Aaron Judge should stay with the Yankees and the second whether Judge should become captain, the first since Derek Jeter.

“I’m a Yankee for life and he should be a Yankee,” Rivera said. “He has to make it own decision. But if it was me, I want him on my team. And then captain, that's a privilege that you have to earn. And I remember when they named Derek captain of the team, we all were content with in the news, but at the same time it’s a lot a work. Thank God that we were there for Derek to help him.”


AP Sports Writer Eric Nunez contributed to this report.


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