Yankees hope to play two exhibition games in Panama to honor Mariano Rivera

Mariano Rivera waves to fans for the last Mariano Rivera waves to fans for the last time during the ninth inning of a game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium. (Sept. 26, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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The most intriguing part of the Yankees' spring training schedule, which the club released yesterday, isn't even on it yet, at least not officially.

Sources confirmed earlier in the week that the Yankees and Marlins are finalizing plans to play two split-squad games March 14 and 15 in Panama City as a tribute to the retired Mariano Rivera, a native of Panama.

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The trip will come nearly two years after a first attempt to play two exhibition games in Panama fell through in the late stages for the Yankees. They had discussed it with MLB, as a tribute to the still-active Rivera, in late 2011. The Yankees have not made an official announcement about this trip but one is expected soon.

As of now, 32 exhibition games are on the schedule, with 17 of them to be played at George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Pitchers and catchers are to report Feb. 14 and their first workout is Feb. 15. Position players arrive Feb. 19, with the first full-squad workout a day later. The Yankees will play their first exhibition game Feb. 25 against Florida State University at Steinbrenner Field, and they will open Grapefruit League play Feb. 26 against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. The Yankees' first major-league home exhibition game will be Feb. 27 against the Pirates.

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