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Baseball notebook: Yankees dedicate Monument Park plaque to Mariano Rivera

Former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera waves to fans as he leaves the field after he unveiled his Monument Park plaque. (Bill Kostroun / Associated Press)
Former New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera waves to fans as he leaves the field after he unveiled his Monument Park plaque. (Bill Kostroun / Associated Press)
Associated Press

Mariano Rivera walked to the podium near home plate at Yankee Stadium to speak about his newly dedicated plaque, which will be placed in Monument Park behind center field. He spoke in the 95-degree heat for just 3 minutes, as brief as many of his efficient relief appearances.

“I always will thank the good Lord to make me a Yankee,” he said, referencing Joe DiMaggio’s memorable phrase.

And then he turned and pointed to his former teammates and managers, seated on folding chairs in the infield.

“Hey, guys, I said 5 minutes – all right!” he said, pausing for a big smile before shifting his focus back to the fans. “Thank you guys. I love you guys.”

Controlling owner Hal Steinbrenner presented Rivera with a replica of the plaque during a 25-minute ceremony before Sunday’s 12-3 loss to Tampa Bay. Co-owner Jennifer Steinbrenner Swindal gave the retired reliever a ring in 14-carat white gold with “42” – his retired uniform number – formed by diamonds.

Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams were among the former teammates on the field for the tribute along with current manager Joe Girardi and former manager Joe Torre.

“It wasn’t about me. It was those guys there,” Rivera said, pointing to the group. “Without them, I couldn’t do it.”

Rivera, whose number was retired by the Yankees in 2013 during his final weeks as a player, exited to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” the music played when he entered games. He returned for the ceremonial first pitch, a strike from the pitching rubber to rookie catcher Gary Sanchez.

Rivera set records with 652 regular season saves and 42 more in the postseason, spending his entire big league career from 1995-2013 with the Yankees and winning five World Series titles. He is eligible for Hall of Fame induction in 2019.

His plaque will be the 36th in Monument Park to go along with seven monuments. He talked at a post-ceremony news conference about being honored in the same place as Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, DiMaggio and Yogi Berra.

“And then me, a humble guy from Puerta Caimito, Panama, and being in that group of men means a lot,” he said.

Rivera also was at Yankee Stadium on Friday to participate in a ceremony marking Alex Rodriguez’s final game with the Yankees, then returned Saturday for a celebration of New York’s 1996 World Series title.

Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton and Adam Conley go on DL

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton and left-hander Adam Conley (Washington State) went on the disabled list, a double whammy for a team seeking its first playoff berth since 2003.

Stanton was to undergo an MRI after hurting his left groin trying to stretch a single into a double Saturday night. He went down awkwardly and was tagged out at second base to end an 8-7 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

“He looked like he got shot,” manager Don Mattingly said. “You just see the leg give out. Obviously it’s not a very good sign when you see that. Hopefully he’s out a couple of weeks, and we get back at it. If not, we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do.”

Conley gave up five runs in four innings and said he has been dealing with soreness in his pitching hand that has been getting worse. He hurt his hand banging it on the roof of the dugout at Wrigley Field celebrating a teammate’s home run on Aug. 3.

The injury was diagnosed as tendinitis. Mattingly said it would likely force Conley to miss a turn, so the Marlins decided to put the youngster on the DL to give him a breather.

Conley is 8-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 24 starts. Stanton, this year’s Home Run Derby winner, leads the Marlins with 25 homers and 70 RBIs while batting .244.

The injuries are a jolt for a team still in contention for an N.L. wild-card berth despite losing 10 of its past 15 games.

“We’ve got to find another way to win,” Mattingly said. “It’s as simple as that. Nobody is going to feel sorry for us. Everybody has injuries.”

Infielder Robert Andino and reliever Hunter Cervenka were called up from Triple-A New Orleans. Andino, a nine-year veteran, was in the lineup at second baseman Sunday for his first major league appearance since 2013.

Minor leaguer Mejia’s hitting streak ends at 50 games

The 50-game hitting streak for Cleveland Indians minor leaguer Francisco Mejia is over.

Mejia went 0 for 3 with a walk for Class A Lynchburg in a 6-0 win against Winston-Salem in the Carolina League.

Mejia’s streak was tied for the fifth-longest in pro ball history, and the best since 1954. The record is 69 games by Joe Wilhoit of the Western League in 1919.

On Saturday night, Mejia’s string seemed to end. But more than an hour after the game ended, the official scorer reversed his ruling, giving Mejia a double on a play originally scored an error on the third baseman.

Mejia is a 20-year-old switch-hitter. His hitting streak is the longest ever by a catcher in pro ball.

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