Without question, the Yankees feel-good story of the week has been Mariano Rivera. He’s an easy man to appreciate, and when he reaches a milestone like 600 career saves, his teammates love to speaking glowingly about what he means on the mound, in the clubhouse and away from the field.
But yesterday, Joe Girardi was asked about Rivera’s potential impact on unfamiliar ground.
Rivera wants to play center field in a game, just once. Girardi knows it, and he didn’t dismiss it.
“I’ll think about that when he tells me he’s near the end,” Girardi said. “It’s something I would definitely think about. That’ll get me in trouble, won’t it?”
Maybe not. Rivera shags fly balls in center field all the time during batting practice — “He’s incredible,” Girardi said — and this season we’ve seen Jorge Posada get an inning at second base. Late next season, if Rivera’s announced that he’s retiring at the end of his contract, and the Yankees have the division wrapped up, and they find themselves in the ninth inning of a meaningless blow out… Would you put him out there?
“Maybe I’d try to do it for one hitter,” Girardi said. “A guy who hits a lot of ground balls, strikes out a lot… And there would be nobody on base where he’d have to make a throw.”
Associated Press photo