BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic (AP) -Joe Girardi plans to have Mariano Rivera in pinstripes next season.
``We want to sign Mariano,'' the Yankees' new manager said Thursday. ``I already spoke with him on this trip and I think that there is a good chance that he will return to the team.''
Girardi spoke while was on a scouting trip to the team's academy in the Dominican Republic, where dozens of young players are hoping for a shot at the big leagues.
``You might find the next Robinson Cano or Melky Cabrera here,'' Girardi said.
Rivera also is in the Dominican conducting baseball clinics. The two met Wednesday night.
New York recently offered Rivera a $45 million, three-year contract to stay with the club and was waiting to hear back from the All-Star closer. If he accepts the deal, Rivera would be by far the highest-paid reliever in baseball.
Rivera, who turns 38 on Nov. 29, has spent all 13 of his major league seasons with the Yankees and ranks third on the career saves list with 443. He filed for free agency this offseason.
The pitcher said this week the Yankees are his ``first option.'' But if he can't reach a deal with New York, he'd consider following ex-Yankees manager Joe Torre to the Dodgers.
Girardi also was keeping track of talks between Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees.
``Alex has always said he wants to stay in New York. We will see how the negotiations go,'' Girardi said.
Notes: The Yankees donated $60,000 to the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua to help hurricane relief efforts in both countries.
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