10/11/2004 10:41 AM ET
Fatal accident at Rivera's home
Yankees closer says he'll be back in time for ALCS
NEW YORK -- Yankees closer Mariano Rivera returned to Panama on Sunday after learning that two relatives died in an accident at his home there, but said that he intends to be in New York for Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against the Red Sox on Tuesday.
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
"I have to comply with my family obligations, and I will return to New York on Tuesday," Rivera told the newspaper La Prensa upon arriving in Panama late Sunday.
According to a team source in reports in The New York Times and The Associated Press, two of his wife's relatives were electrocuted in an accident at Rivera's home in Puerto Caimito, Panama.
The accident involved an electric fence surrounding a swimming pool at Rivera's home. The Times reported that the two people killed were Victor Dario Avila, 35, and his 14-year-old son, Victor, both cousins of Rivera's wife, Clara.
According to relatives, the teenager appeared to have touched an electric wire while cleaning the pool, and his father died trying to save him.
The Times reported that Rivera flew to Panama on Sunday to help make funeral arrangements and comfort his family. Yankees media relations director Rick Cerrone told the Times he was unsure if Rivera would be available to pitch in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series against rival Boston, scheduled to begin play on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. But Rivera's agent, Fernando Cuza, was quoted as saying that Rivera would be back in time for the game.
Rivera was informed of the accident after Saturday's Game 4 victory in Minnesota as his wife was taken into the Yankees clubhouse by team security. She was then escorted out of the clubhouse, visibly shaken, while Rivera got dressed and prepared for the team flight back to New York.
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.