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Mariano Rivera says he won't pitch when Yankees play March 15-16 in Panama City

Former Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera acknowledges the crowd

Former Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera acknowledges the crowd before Game 2 of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. (Oct. 24, 2013) Credit: AP

Retired Yankees great Mariano Rivera said there is "no chance" he will pitch next month when the Yankees play the Marlins in a pair of exhibition games in his native Panama.

Rivera made the comment Wednesday on a conference call to promote the "Legends Series" games scheduled for March 15-16 at Rod Carew Stadium in Panama City.

"I would have loved to participate and compete in Panama when I was playing with the Yankees," Rivera said. "I would have loved my people to have seen me play down there. But at the same time, I'm happy the team is going there. Hopefully, this will be the opening of doors so Panama can host some real baseball games during the season."

Rivera, baseball's all-time saves leader, said he is comfortable with retired life.

"It is certainly strange," he said. "Right now, I would be in Florida, but I understand that all things must come to an end, and I am really enjoying being home with my wife and children.

"I miss hanging out and joking with my teammates, and of course, I miss throwing, competing, which is something I always loved, and it is something I will miss for the rest of my life. But I am happy at home."

Rivera said he has not yet spoken to former teammate Derek Jeter, who will be calling it quits at the end of the season.

"I wanted to do it personally and congratulate him on his career," Rivera said.

Of Jeter's retirement tour and how it might compare to his own in 2013, Rivera said: "I hope it will be better. I hope so because he deserves it. He has given everything to the game of baseball. A player like that, he deserves that and more. I will be praying for him that he can stay healthy the whole year so he can enjoy -- really enjoy -- the reaction on the tour."

Rivera said he plans to be there for part of Jeter's final season.

"I will be there this season, going to the games as often as I can," he said. "The Yankees are my team and will be until the day I die. The only difference is that I am not a part of the 25-man roster, but my heart is always there and I will try to be with them as often as I can."

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