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Yankees’ Rivera apologizes for skipping Houston series

  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) is greeted by former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, left, and former manager Joe Torre before the ceremony honoring Rivera before the baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. Rivera is retiring after 18 years in baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

    New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) is greeted by former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, left, and former manager Joe Torre before the ceremony honoring Rivera before the baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. Rivera is retiring after 18 years in baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera takes the field for a retirement presentation before the baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

    New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera takes the field for a retirement presentation before the baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

  • Retiring New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera gives a thumbs up to a painting presented to him during a ceremony before a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

    Retiring New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera gives a thumbs up to a painting presented to him during a ceremony before a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

  • Former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, left, and former Yankees manager Joe Torre, center, listens as relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, right, gives remarks during a presentation ceremony before a baseball against the Houston Astros game Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. Rivera is retiring after 18 years in baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

    Former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, left, and former Yankees manager Joe Torre, center, listens as relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, right, gives remarks during a presentation ceremony before a baseball against the Houston Astros game Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. Rivera is retiring after 18 years in baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

  • New York Yankees fans show their appreciation for retiring closer Mariano Rivera before a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

    New York Yankees fans show their appreciation for retiring closer Mariano Rivera before a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) and others watch as Kirk Hammett of the band Metallica gives him a thumbs-up on the big screen during a presentation before a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. Rivera is retiring after 18 years in baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

    New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) and others watch as Kirk Hammett of the band Metallica gives him a thumbs-up on the big screen during a presentation before a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. Rivera is retiring after 18 years in baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) is greeted by former Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, left, and former manager Joe Torre before the ceremony honoring Rivera before the baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. Rivera is retiring after 18 years in baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)
  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera takes the field for a retirement presentation before the baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)
  • Retiring New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera gives a thumbs up to a painting presented to him during a ceremony before a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)
  • Former New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens, left, and former Yankees manager Joe Torre, center, listens as relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, right, gives remarks during a presentation ceremony before a baseball against the Houston Astros game Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. Rivera is retiring after 18 years in baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)
  • New York Yankees fans show their appreciation for retiring closer Mariano Rivera before a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)
  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera (42) and others watch as Kirk Hammett of the band Metallica gives him a thumbs-up on the big screen during a presentation before a baseball game against the Houston Astros Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Houston. Rivera is retiring after 18 years in baseball. (AP Photo/Richard Carson)

Mariano Rivera’s message was a little different for the last pregame ceremony in a season full of opposing teams honoring the retiring New York Yankees closer.

He apologized to the fans and the Houston Astros yesterday for sitting out the final three games of his career. And the 43-year-old was honest about why.

Baseball’s career saves leader said he wanted to go out with the emotional farewell at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night, when longtime teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte made the visit to the mound to remove him.

Roger Clemens, who played with Rivera in New York but grew up in the Houston area and also pitched for the Astros, was among the guests as Rivera was presented with artwork commemorating his career.

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