MLB notes: The Sandman exits in New York

New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera reacts to a gift of a guitar speaker from the band...

New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera reacts to a gift of a guitar speaker from the band Metallica as the retiring player was honored before their MLB Interleague game with the San Francisco Giants at Yankee Stadium in New York, September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:14 AM ET

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera got rock-star treatment before Sunday’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

The Yankees honored Rivera, who is retiring at the end of the season, with a 50-minute pre-game ceremony that included Metallica performing “Enter Sandman,” the song played when Rivera enters games.

“Thank you for 19 years of support,” Rivera said to fans. “It’s been a great run and you guys have been amazing ... You guys will have a part of my heart here in New York.”

The ceremony was also attended by former teammates Jorge Posada, Bernie Williams and Tino Martinez, and included the retiring of Rivera’s No. 42. Rivera is the last major-league player to wear No. 42 since it was retired in honor of Jackie Robinson.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared Sept. 22, 2013, as Mariano Rivera Day.

Rivera is Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader with 652 in a Hall-of-Fame career that has lasted 19 years.

Rivera has 44 saves this season and a 2.21 ERA.

He has an all-time high 42 post-season saves and is part of five World Series championships.

The Yankees play just three more regular-season games at Yankee Stadium this year and three on the road. They entered Sunday’s action three games behind the Cleveland Indians for the second wild-card spot.

SANDBERG ENTERS

The Philadelphia Phillies officially removed the interim tag from Ryne Sandberg’s title Sunday morning, making him the 52nd manager in team history.

It’s a position he never thought he’d take in his playing days.

“Communication is one of my strengths, which is ironic because as a player I think I wasn’t strong at all at communicating. I was focused on catching the ball and hitting it, and it kind of stopped there,” Sandberg said. “That was all part of going to the minor leagues and aging a little bit and maturing.”

Sandberg, who entered the season as the Phillies’ third-base coach, was named the club’s interim manager Aug. 16 when Charlie Manuel was fired.

For the two years before that, he served as manager of Lehigh Valley, the Phillies’ Class AAA affiliate, and including his time with the Chicago Cubs managed six years in the minor leagues.

The club announced Sandberg has signed a three-year contract with a club option for a fourth year, taking him through at least the 2016 season.

“I think this is the right person to take us forward,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro said. “I know his philosophy on the importance of cohesiveness throughout the organization, and that’s exactly what we’re looking for. I know he understands the importance of player development and scouting, he’s got an idea and a vision of what’s necessary to move this organization forward.”

Since Sandberg took the helm, the Phillies have gone 18-16. They were 53-67 when he was named interim manager.

STATUE FOR YAZ

Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski was honored by the Boston Red Sox with a statue outside Fenway Park on Sunday.

“It means tremendous importance to me,” the 74-year-old said. “This is as important to me as being elected to the Hall of Fame and having my number retired. It’s a tremendous honour.”

Former teammates Dwight Evans, Jim Rice, Bill Lee and Luis Tiant, and current Red Sox Dustin Pedroia, Jonny Gomes, Daniel Nava and manager John Farrell helped honor Yastrzemski, who won the Triple Crown in 1967.

Yastrzemski’s statue is in between Hall of Famer Ted Williams’ and one called “teammates” with Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr. The statue of Yastrzemski is an image of him tipping his cap before his final at-bat in 1983.

Boston mayor Tom Menino proclaimed it Carl Yastrzemski Day.

Yastrzemski, inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1989.

BRIEFLY

The Oakland Athletics clinched back-to-back American League West titles Sunday after the Kansas City Royals beat the Texas Rangers ... The Atlanta Braves clinched the National League East title for the first time since 2005 after the New York Mets beat the Washington Nationals in Game 1 of Sunday’s doubleheader ... If A.J. Burnett, 36, decides not to retire at season’s end, Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Sunday the organization will do “everything in our power” to bring the ace back for 2014. Burnett admitted a day earlier he had been mulling retirement all season ... Felix Hernandez set an MLB record Sunday after punching out 10 batters in four innings. It’s the most strikeouts recorded by a starter who lasted four innings or less. Hernandez, coming off an oblique strain, was pulled early by the Seattle Mariners so as not to tax their ace.

 


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