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Mariano appears headed back to Bronx

Mariano appears headed back to Bronx

NEW YORK -- The ninth innings in the Bronx will continue to belong to Mariano Rivera through 2012, as the Yankees are close to getting the elite closer's signature on a new contract.

Rivera and the Yankees are set to agree to a two-year deal worth $30 million, according to a New York Daily News report, which cited a source familiar with the negotiations.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman would not confirm the agreement while speaking to reporters in Stamford, Conn., where he was scaling a 22-story building in preparation for Sunday's "Heights and Lights" holiday event.

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"There's a lot of steps in the process -- from agreeing to something in principle to getting the physical done -- and so from the club's perspective, until all those things are covered, I'm not in a position to say," Cashman said.


Rivera's agent, Fernando Cuza, has been working with Cashman on the framework of a new deal for the 41-year-old right-hander for weeks, with those talks said to have progressed more smoothly than the negotiations with Derek Jeter.

"We'd like to obviously have both of those guys back, no doubt about it, and try to find a way to improve the club at the same time," Cashman said.

Cuza was a guest at David Ortiz's charity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic on Thursday evening, where he told the Daily News that he and the Yankees were "a little far apart," but that "hopefully we'll be able to work it out."

The Red Sox offered Rivera a two-year, $30 million deal and were prepared to non-tender closer Jonathan Papelbon, according to ESPNBoston.com, which cited a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations. But Rivera turned down the Yankees' arch rival and Boston offered Papelbon arbitration before Thursday night's deadline. SI.com reported that the Angels also made an offer to Rivera.

"I think you can be pretty confident in Mo," Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner told The Associated Press on Thursday. "We're looking good."

Rivera posted another remarkable season in 2010 at the age of 40, with 33 saves and a 1.80 ERA. He is second to Trevor Hoffman on the all-time saves list with 559 and has a career 2.23 ERA, but of course, is more known for his postseason dominance.

Rivera has five World Series rings and owns a record of 8-1, a 0.71 ERA and 42 saves in 94 career playoff games over 31 series.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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