Mariano Rivera could play center field for Yankees this weekend
Yankees beat writer Sweeny Murti asked manager Joe Girardi if he is considering playing Rivera in center field during his final days as a player, to which Girardi responded, "Absolutely."
Rivera has long wanted to play center field, even if it were just for one inning. "I don't think it would happen, but I hope so," Rivera said back in 2011. Ironically enough, Rivera tore his ACL catching fly balls in center field during batting practice early in the Yankees' 2012 campaign.
Girardi said he would not play Rivera in the outfield Thursday night, but rather over the weekend. The Yankees wrap up a series with the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday - a game that has playoff implications. The Yankees and Houston Astros, however, will face off this weekend, and with both teams out of playoff contention, sticking Rivera in the outfield won't have any effect on the outcome of the season.
The most likely scenario for Rivera's center field appearance would be subbing in during the eighth inning, then moving to the mound to close out the game in the ninth. Don't expect any web gems, but it will certainly be fun to watch the all-time great take on a new position at the age of 43.
Rivera is enjoying another dominant season (though it is hardly dominant by his standards), posting a 2.15 ERA with 44 saves and an MLB-high 60 games finished. This weekend is the last we will ever see of the greatest closer of all time on the mound.