Yankees closer Mariano Rivera has gotten just about everything he's asked for this season -- along with many things he didn't -- but the one thing that's continued to elude him is the opportunity to play center field for an inning.
With the Bronx Bombers now officially out of the playoff picture, manager Joe Girardi may decide to grant Rivera's final wish this week, but it won't happen on Thursday, report Peter Botte and Anthony McCarron of the NY Daily News:
"We’ll go day by day. We have a responsibility to baseball (Thursday) and I take that very seriously," Girardi said.
The "responsibility to baseball" Girardi speaks of is likely to put his best team on the field to take on the Rays, who are still in a race with the Indians and Rangers to book a spot in the Wild Card play-in game. When the Yankees head to Texas on Friday to cap the season with three games against the cellar-dwelling Astros, however, the situation may be a little different.
Rivera hurt his knee shagging fly balls in the outfield last year, but that hasn't dissuaded him from his long sought goal of getting an inning in center. (Plus, if he happen to injure himself now, there's really no harm.) When approached Wednesday about the subject of getting some time in the outfield, Rivera just laughed and said: "We'll see."
One hopes that Rivera spends the next three days hovering around Girardi and humming John Fogerty until he grants him his wish. Let's just pray he doesn't have to navigate Tal's Hill.