New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera, who was picked by manager Joe Torre for the American League All-Star game, took himself off the squad for undisclosed personal reasons Wednesday.
Torre said Cleveland right-hander Charles Nagy would take Rivera's place on the AL roster.
During a brief news conference in the visitors' clubhouse at Tiger Stadium, Rivera said he had been planning for some time to fly home to Panama to tend to personal business. He declined to elaborate, but said it didn't involve his family.
"It's an honor for me to be taken on the All-Star team," said Rivera, who is fourth in the AL with 24 saves. "But, I've got to take care of this problem."
"It hurts, because I wanted to be there (July 13 in Boston). But, I spoke to Joe and he understands."
Torre confirmed that he had known of Rivera's decision for more than 24 hours. He said he called the right-hander into his office before Tuesday night's 9-8 victory over Detroit in 10 innings. Rivera told him then that he couldn't accept, yet his name was released with the rest of the squad anyway.
"He was troubled that he had to do this," Torre said. "But we cleared it with the American League office. He'd been needing to take care of this, and there as no other time he could do it."
Rivera, who will leave for Panama after the Yankees game with the Mets on Sunday, said he would return in time for the resumption of the regular season July 15 when the Yankees play the Atlanta Braves.
"It's not that I have to go there," Rivera said. "I need to go there."
Rivera made his 32nd appearance of the season Tuesday night, suffering only his second blown save in 23 opportunities before getting credit for the win. Bobby Higginson tied it at 8 with two outs in the ninth with a solo homer, the first yielded by Rivera this season.
Torre said Nagy, who is 10-4, had been close to making the AL squad all along.
"He was right there in the voting," Torre said. "I pretty much went with the manager's sheets, right down the line."
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