Mariano Rivera would "rather pitch in ninth" than start All-Star Game

Rich Schultz

The closer would prefer to assume his customary role in the ninth inning.

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has heard the idea suggested by some in the baseball community that he should start this summer's All-Star game for the American League, but Rivera would rather close the game than start it, the reliever told Mike Mazzeo of

Rivera discussed the idea with Mazzeo, telling the reporter:

"I've been told about it, but I don't like it. And the reason why I say that is it's not what I do. What I do is close the games; I don't start the games. It's a privilege and honor, but I'm not contemplating it."

The closer has maintained his stance on not wanting to start the All-Star game, as he told last month:

"It would mess up everything. It would be the first time I've started, I think, since 1995. I don't think it would be right. I'd rather close the game than start the game."

Rivera says that he understands the reasoning behind the idea and appreciates that fans want to honor his career, but would not feel comfortable starting the game.

The All-Star game is being held at Citi Field this season, so there will likely be plenty of Yankees fans in attendance to see the closer in his last All-Star appearance. If Rivera starts, he is guaranteed an appearance, while he may not see the field later depending on the game situation.

Rivera, who holds the major-league record with 634 regular season saves, has announced that 2013 will be his last season.

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