Yankees' Rivera inks extension

Mariano Rivera won't be leaving the Bronx like former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte.

The closer has reached an agreement on a multi-year contract extension worth $21 million US with New York, the 2003 American League champions.

"I think I was born to be a Yankee," Rivera said. "I want to thank Mr. George to get the opportunity to stay with the Yankees forever, have a chance to get into the Hall of Fame with the pinstripes. That's big for me."

Rivera, who's in the last year of his contract, is signed through the 2006 season. He will make $10.5 million US in 2005 and 2006. The deal also includes an option year for 2007 that will be prompted by games completed.

On Dec. 11, Pettitte tested free agency and inked a three-year, $31.5 million US deal with the Houston Astros after winning four World Series championships and six AL pennants in New York.

Rivera, a hard-throwing right-hander, has four World Series rings and a record 30 career post-season saves, double the total of the next closest pitcher, Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley.

The 34-year-old Rivera is the Yankees' career saves leader with 283. The all-star went 5-2 with a career-low 1.66 earned-run average and 40 saves in 64 games last season.

"He's the best I've ever been around," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "Not only the ability to pitch and perform under pressure, but the calm he puts over the clubhouse. He's very important for us because he's a special person."

Despite blowing four of six save chances in late July and early August, Rivera was hot from Sept. 1 through the end of the World Series, which the Yankees lost in six games to the Florida Marlins. He allowed just one earned run in 28 innings and was named most valuable player in the American League Championship Series against rival Boston.

"Mo is one of the greatest closers of all-time-if not the greatest-and his contributions to the Yankees have been immeasurable," said Brian Cashman, the Yankees' senior vice president and general manager.

with files from Associated Press Sports Network