Mariano in center field? Maybe someday

All this talk about Mariano Rivera got me wondering — he’s always said that he would love to play center field in a game, whether it’s for one inning, a batter, whatever.

Today at Safeco Field, Joe Girardi laughed at the topic and acknowledged that seeing No. 42 in center field someday is actually a possibility.

“I’ll think about that when he tells me that he’s near the end,” Girardi said. “It’s something I would definitely think about. That’ll get me in trouble.”

Of course, with concerns about injuries, there’s really no perfect time to do such a thing. Even if the Yankees clinch the division and it were Rivera’s final season, you’d still want to keep him healthy for the postseason. It might take a 2008-esque playoff miss to make it happen.

Then again, Girardi did put Jorge Posada at second base this year without incident. Rivera shags fly balls in center field every day during batting practice and the Yankees say – without a hint of humor – that he’s one of the best athletes out there.

“Maybe I’d try to do it for one hitter; a guy that hits ground balls or strikes out,” Girardi said. “And there would be nobody on base where he’d make a throw.”

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