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Yankees might use Mariano Rivera as a center fielder

Sep 26, 2013, 4:04 PM EDT

New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera stretches during the first day of MLB spring training workouts for pitchers and catchers in Tampa, Florida in this file photo Reuters

Oh boy, this might be fun.

For tonight it’ll be business as usual because the Yankees are playing the Rays and Tampa Bay is going after a playoff spot, but manager Joe Girardi just told reporters that he’s “absolutely” considering using Mariano Rivera in center field during the final series in Houston.

Rivera has always loved shagging fly balls in the outfield–that’s how he injured his knee last season–and has talked in the past about wanting to play center field, even for just an inning. And why not give him a shot? It’s not like the Astros will care, I’m sure the Yankees and their fans would get a huge kick out of it, and the possibility of Rivera chasing after a fly ball and having to contend with that crazy hill in Houston’s outfield sounds all kinds of fun.

I mean, if position players can pitch in blowouts on a relatively regular basis why can’t Rivera be a position player for 20 minutes? And then maybe he can pitch the next inning.

  1. rickdobrydney - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Love it ……. LOVE IT

    • moogro - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:38 PM

      I say give him the whole last game and the 4 at-bats. Could there be any better way to go out than pulling a homer back from the stands to give give your pitcher the win, then doing a CF-P shift in the ninth for the save? I get chills thinking about it.

  2. 8to80texansblog - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    “It’s not like the Astros will care”

    Does anyone even still go to Astros games….

    They are an AA team with a big stadium. Hopefully they get the #1 pick again…. for the 3rd straight year…..

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      There will probably be some southern Yankee fans there.

    • billybawl - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      If Girardi announces this ahead of time, you’ll get at least 10,000 walk up ticket sales and be front and center on ESPN. The Astros will LOVE this.

      • 8to80texansblog - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:23 PM

        True…. ticket prices for Mariano’s last game are already through the roof…. But its the day of the Texans v Seahawks so I will not be partaking…

      • jcmeyer10 - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:50 PM

        Maybe they will pull better than a 0 on the Nielson ratings too!

  3. johnnysoda - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    I personally support the idea. I mean, the Yankees are already doing a good thing by visiting a minor league team’s city and playing some games in front of their fans. It’ll be a thrill to see them watch Cano, Granderson, Ichiro, even Pettitte (who played there back when Houston had a major league team). Just like the good old days. Might as well give them the chance to see a novelty moment.

    • Reflex - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:23 PM

      Good point, its similar to how the Rays are in New York reminding the fans what it was like back when they had playoff teams. For a team like the Rays to take the time to do that for the New York fans is fantastic, plus they get to see guys like Chris Archer, David Price and Matt Moore to remind them of what it was like back when they had an actually decent rotation. Not to mention Evan Longoria reminding them what it was like to get production from the hot corner.

      Just like the good old days.

      • ricardorobertasq - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:30 PM

        They can remind them of the good old days when you developed talent and didn’t buy it.

      • raymondbitterlick - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        As long as we’re doing all of this reminding, can someone please remind me again exactly how many World Series titles that Evan Longoria, Chris Archer, Matt Moore, and the rest of these heralded Tampa Bay Rays have won? Thanks!

      • Reflex - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:06 PM

        Sure, I’ll get right on that as soon as you remind me why it matters this year? I know this: They are in a better position to capture one this year than the Yankees, eh?

      • raymondbitterlick - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:36 PM

        Because your team should have won something–even once–before you start the trash talk against a team that’s won 5 WS in the past 19 years, and has only missed the playoffs twice in that span. One of those two times (2008) they would’ve been in the playoffs if the current 2-wildcard system had been in place.

      • km9000 - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:40 PM

        Passive-aggressive trash talk. I love it.

      • Reflex - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:45 PM

        1) I’m not a Rays fan, I live in Seattle.
        2) My post was a response to a Yankees fan trash talking the Astros, I don’t inherently have anything against the Yankees.
        3) Why should any fan of any team *this year* give a damn about the Yankees past glory? Its the past.
        4) I don’t care what would have been the case if you altered the rules. I also don’t care about the past. My point was that if someone is going to pick on the Astros for *this year* being a crappy team, its fair to point out that the Yankees are losers *this year* too.

        The Astros have not always sucked. The Yankees have not always sucked. But having one loser point a finger and taunt another loser is just, well, idiotic.

      • American of African Descent - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:13 PM

        The Yankees had a disappointing season — and the injuries had something to do with it — but at least they will finish over .500 in a very tough division. What’s the Astros excuse?

      • Reflex - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:45 PM

        An intentional rebuilding process. Something most teams do at some point. Why?

      • raysfan1 - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:46 PM

        The Astros excuse is that a thoroughly incompetent former owner decimated their farm system and sold the future for expensive short term marginal gains. That franchise was pillaged and they are now forced to start over.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:09 AM

      This is a perfect example of the stereotypical Yankees fan attitude that makes so many people hate the team and their fans. Considering your team hasn’t played a meaningful game for most of the month, you and the Astros have quite a few things in common, including the fact that neither will be going to the post season this year. The difference however, is that the Yankees are a team that has aged very rapidly, and have absolutely zero help coming from one of the most depleted minor league systems in the league. You also have significant salary issues that will in all likelihood cause your one good bat to walk in the off-season. Combine that with how it’s much more difficult to stock up via free agency these days and It is going to be a very ugly few years for the team. In contrast, the Astros, while at the basement level at the moment, are a team on the rise with several really good prospects and developing players. In a year or two’s time, they will be one of the better teams in the league, while Yankee fans are crying over Jeter’s retirement and the last place finish.

  4. mogogo1 - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    Really cool idea. And one that wouldn’t likely have been possible if they’d still been in the playoff hunt…so a bit of a silver lining there.

    • paperlions - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:21 PM

      Man, who knew that silver linings could have their own silver linings? The world is a wonderful and mysterious place.

  5. vanmorrissey - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Put him in left so he won’t blow out the leg for his finale going up that hill in center.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      He doesn’t need legs anymore. He’s retiring.

  6. natstowngreg - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Playoff position isn’t at stake. The player in question is about to retire. Why not?

  7. 950003cups - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    Isn’t that how he tore his ACL? Let him catch. How awesome would that be? Let him call the pitches.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      Mo calling a game:

      Cutter….cutter….cutter….cutter….

      “Why do people think this job is so hard?”

      • Bryz - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        “Hiroki, why do you keep shaking me off?”

        “Because I don’t throw that pitch, Mo!”

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 27, 2013 at 11:51 AM

        “Why not? It’s good!”

    • kevinbnyc - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      Great idea. That’d be easy on the knee.

    • jerze2387 - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      id love to see a runner steal and Mo throw a cutter to 2B…

  8. thomas844 - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    From what I have read from former teammates and coaches of his, Mariano was actually one of the fastest runners on the Yankees (yes, including position players) in his earlier days. He is tremendously athletic and I’m sure he can hold his own out there in the outfield. I would love to see him take some hacks at the plate, also.

  9. historiophiliac - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    My grandfather was a RHP and when his manager-player was tossed from a game once, he ended up covering in the outfield.

    • Reflex - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:28 PM

      Must have been a huge guy…

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Laura…is that you?

      We are now even. Lol!

      • historiophiliac - Sep 27, 2013 at 4:56 PM

        I’ve dropped it before, fyi. You just weren’t paying attention.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 27, 2013 at 5:01 PM

        No matter. The jig is now up!
        I promise not to use it since you have been kind enough to do likewise for me.

  10. icanspeel - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Sounds fun, hopefully he gets a ball hit his way. Would he also bat too?

    • raynman49 - Sep 26, 2013 at 4:43 PM

      No. Special Yankee rules: designated outfielder.

  11. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    But if there is a play at the plate and he has to throw home, wouldn’t the throw necessarily have to cut 10 feet up the first base line? Is Mo even capable of throwing straight at this point?

    • cur68 - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Now THAT right there is good question. Rivera still throws in the low 90′s. Jose Bautista, when he was a minor league pitcher, could throw that hard. Its well known that Bautista has a cannon arm, so Rivera’s arm strength would not be in question. The question is if he can throw a cutter ~200′ (or greater) and still hit the catcher.

      I’m taking a “yes”. The Sandman can put you to bed from centre field: how awesome would that be?

      • ptfu - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        I still feel bad for Yankee catchers and cut-off men. Mo might throw a strike but it won’t look like one to the poor schlub trying to catch it.

      • moogro - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:36 PM

        Yes! Mo throwing people out! That’s a must.

    • km9000 - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:48 PM

      Well, I’m sure he uses hard straight throws during BP and defensive drills.

  12. nbjays - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    I’d love to see him bat and hit a home run. Now THAT would be the way to end a career as an AL pitcher.

  13. thesmedman - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Last day of the season. Bank on it.

  14. 18thstreet - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:46 PM

    Things I just learned: Mariano Rivera’s career WHIP. Go. Look it up. I won’t spoil the fun for you. Wow.

    You know, there’s a lot of complicated statistics in sports today. But when your job is to pitch one inning, walks plus hits per inning pitched is a rather relevant one.

    This just in: he was good.

    • cur68 - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      know what’s even better? His post season WHIP.

  15. j0esixpack - Sep 26, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Whatever Rivera wants, Rivera should get.

  16. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 27, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    I really like this idea, it’s a really fun way to send the guy into the sunset. I can understand some pause however, as the very last thing you want it for Mo to end up injured in his final game. It also means it’s pretty much impossible for him to pitch after, as he wouldn’t be able to warm up in the bullpen, so you’d have to bring him in to pitch say the 8th inning, then switch him to outfield in the 9th.

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