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Rays' near-perfect closer replaces ailing Yankees star Mariano Rivera next week.

Rafael Soriano wanted the opportunity to experience one All-Star Game during his career, "to see how the thing happens and how you feel when you go there."

When he wasn't named to the American League team Sunday despite worthy numbers, he told anyone who asked that he couldn't do anything about it and planned to spend the break at home in the Dominican Republic.

But Wednesday, he woke - at 1:30 p.m.! - to a text message from his agent with good news: He'd been added to the team as a replacement for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera.

"I'm not here to try to make the All-Star team; I'm here to win," Soriano said. "At the same time, I got the opportunity to be there, and I'm happy with that, and my family, too."

Soriano has a good case, with 23 saves - one off the major-league lead - in 24 chances and a 1.65 ERA. He was the automatic selection to replace Rivera as the reliever with the next-most votes in the players balloting, and he joins elected starters Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford and pitcher David Price to give the Rays four representatives at the game in Anaheim.

Manager Joe Maddon, who had been pushing Soriano's candidacy, was thrilled with the news. "He deserved to be there in the first place," Maddon said.

AL/Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he was well aware of that. "(Soriano) was a guy that was part of the voting, but he was on my radar anyway,'' Girardi said in Oakland.

Soriano will head west with his wife, four kids, mom and several associates, including his cook (who is a cousin), trainer and personal assistant. "We'll go and see what happens," Soriano said.