Now that the Yankees season is officially kaput, there is a real possibility that Mariano Rivera will be granted his last baseball wish and play center field this weekend against the long out-of-it Astros in Minute Maid Park.
Manager Joe Girardi said before last night's series opener against Houston that it still is possible that the Yankees' retiring closer will fulfill his longtime dream of playing in the outfield in a major-league game —but it's up to Mo.
"I'll talk to him every day to see what he wants to do,'' Girardi said. "I know he's talked about playing some centerfield, but I know he has some concern about his [knee] running out there. So that's really up to him. If he wants to do it, he can do it. I'm OK with it.''
Baseball purists have called an outfield stint by Rivera a trivialisation of the game. And it was not clear if Rivera was still keen on the idea after mentioning his wobbly knee and need to respect the game. It was not even known if Rivera will pitch this weekend. After Thursday night's emotional send-off at Yankee Stadium, Girardi said he will take it day-by-day.
Still, don't bet against Mo tackling Tal's Hill Sunday afternoon as a well-deserved wrap up to his illustrious career. Purists be damned.