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Wednesday, March 13
Updated: March 15, 3:29 PM ET
Rivera admits to stealing Jeter's glove


PANAMA CITY, Panama -- Ruben Rivera, released this week by the New York Yankees after stealing shortstop Derek Jeter's glove, says he made a mistake that he hoped would not end his career.

"I made a rookie's error," the 28-year-old reserve outfielder said in a telephone interview with the Telemetro Canal 13 television station in his native Panama on Wednesday.

Rivera acknowledged in the interview he took Jeter's glove and a bat from the shortstop's locker and sold them to a sports memorabilia dealer for $2,500.

"I did it without thinking, because it wasn't for the money, I had a good contract," he said. "It was just an instant when I wasn't thinking, and I made a mistake that I'm paying for now."

Rivera was once considered a top prospect in the Yankees' organization but frustrated management with his lack of discipline on and off the field and was traded to San Diego as part of the deal which brought pitcher Hideki Irabu to New York in 1997.

Rivera spent four disappointing seasons with the Padres and played last year with the Cincinnati Reds before signing with the Yankees in the offseason.

Rivera said he hoped to get another opportunity in baseball, and that he was surprised the Yankees cut him, noting others have got breaks after potentially more serious offenses, including drug use.

"Everyone makes mistakes. I haven't killed anybody," Rivera told a television station in his native Panama. "It was just a moment when I wasn't thinking right. I've repented.

"I gave it all back to him the next day. ... It wasn't correct what I was doing."

The outfielder added that Yankees "didn't find out from anyone else that I had the bat. No one knew that I had the bat and glove."

Rivera, who received a $200,000 settlement of his $1 million contract, said he's negotiating with other teams, "even though right now things are a little more difficult."

Unlike many off-the-field transgressions that often can be overlooked, Rivera was not given a second chance by the Yankees.

"We look at this as our house and this is our family," reliever Mike Stanton said Tuesday. "We spend more time here than we do with our real families. This was something that had to be dealt with quickly and as discretely as possible, but that's not possible in this age."

"The clubhouse is a special place," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It's our sanctuary. It's big part of what we do. Trust is very important."

Jeter declined to comment on Tuesday, saying he didn't "want to add fuel to the fire."

Rivera had refused to comment on Monday night before leaving the team.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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