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Mariano Rivera offers support for A-Rod, advice for Cano

Mariano Rivera promotes New Era baseball caps featuring

Mariano Rivera promotes New Era baseball caps featuring his jersey number, 42, in New York. (Nov. 21, 2013) Credit: AP

It may be hard to imagine retired Yankees closer Mariano Rivera going about his business in the same flashy, emotional way as Alex Rodriguez.

But Rivera professed support for his embattled former teammate and said he would have defended himself if a similar situation had it ever developed.

"I would have done it, too," Rivera said Thursday during a ceremony in New York City to rename 4th and Broadway "Mariano Rivera Way" for one day. "Everybody has to defend themselves. In a situation like that, it's hard. We're still human beings.

"He has a right to defend himself, that's all I can tell you."

Rodriguez is currently embroiled in a battle with Major League Baseball, which has levied a 211-game suspension against the third baseman for his alleged involvement with performance-enhancing drugs connected to the Biogenesis case. Rodriguez took his plea to the public on Wednesday, appearing for a lengthy interview on WFAN, where he declared his innocence.

Rivera said he believes Rodriguez. "I don't want to second-guess no one," he said. "If he tells me something, I'm going to believe him. But again, that's me. He's my friend. He tells me something, I'm going to believe him."

When it came to another of his friends, free agent Robinson Cano, Rivera offered advice but not a specific appeal to remain with the Yankees.

"I want him to do what is right and what is good for him," Rivera said. "Not for others, for him. If he's comfortable playing in New York, he should be playing in New York. If he's not comfortable playing in New York, go somewhere where he's comfortable. As simple as that.

"I hope that whatever decision he makes, he will be happy -- for him. Not for anybody else, but for him."

In addition to the temporary Manhattan street reassignment, Rivera was honored by New Era with 42 limited-edition caps commemorating his career.

And Rivera was firm, yet funny, when asked if he wanted that career to continue as a coach or manager someday, offering a succinct, "No."

When asked why, the all-time saves leader who was so efficient with his pitches was just as economical with his words.

"I don't want to," he said, laughing.

New York Sports