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Yankees could sign Mariano Rivera as early as Friday

Mariano Rivera delivers a pitch during a game

Mariano Rivera delivers a pitch during a game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. (April 19, 2012) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The month started with Mariano Rivera informing general manager Brian Cashman that he wants to pitch in 2013.

Prospects are good that it will end with the iconic closer officially under contract to do so.

The Yankees and Rivera spent Thursday -- a day when the closer celebrated his 43rd birthday -- putting the finishing touches on a one-year contract that likely will be announced Friday.

Rivera's base salary is expected to be in the $10-million range, a cut from the $15 million he made last season.

The sides were working on an array of incentives that would allow Rivera, who missed most of last season after tearing his right ACL, to recoup a portion of the lost money.

Once Rivera's contract becomes official, Cashman will have accomplished a major offseason goal -- securing Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Rivera before next week's winter meetings begin in Nashville, Tenn.

Re-signing Russell Martin is a priority, but the Yankees, trying to get their payroll to $189 million by 2014, very well could find themselves outbid by one of the teams interested in the catcher, a group that includes the Rangers and the ultra-aggressive Pirates.

The Pirates reportedly are willing to go as high as three years and $25 million for Martin, but the Yankees simply don't value him at those kind of numbers. There are some in the organization, however, who believe that with the lack of everyday catching options in the system and on the market, a way should be found to retain Martin.

In Nashville, Cashman also will be looking for outfield help (rightfielder Nick Swisher is expected to get a big contract elsewhere) and insurance for a left side of the infield that features 37-year-old Alex Rodriguez and 38-year-old Derek Jeter. The latter is expected to be ready by Opening Day but will be in a non-weight-bearing cast until January as he recovers from a left ankle fracture suffered in Game 1 of the ALCS.


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