Mariano Rivera still wants that inning in center field
There were several light moments during last night’s charity event to benefit Yankees radio engineer and producer Carlos Silva, but one that sticks out concerns Mariano Rivera and his not-so-secret desire to play center field for an inning in a big league game.
A fan brought the topic up during the Q&A portion of the evening, and I was a little surprised to hear it — I assumed that’d been put to rest by last year’s injury in Kansas City. Yankees manager Joe Girardi answered the question fairly, pointing out that the only scenario where they’d even consider it would be a bad one for the Yankees — it’d have to be late in the season and already apparent that the team wasn’t going to the playoffs, since they wouldn’t risk losing their closer (again) with any chance of a World Series on the line.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman had a better response, laughing and saying that Rivera killed those plans for himself by crumpling on the warning track at Kauffman Stadium last May.
“My answer is, you saw what he did. He can’t play center field,” Cashman said, laughing. “The guy is an old man! He blew his knee out!”
That doesn’t mean Rivera has completely given up on the idea; brought on stage seconds later, he announced that we all haven’t heard the last of him in center field.
It should go without saying by now, but this Rivera guy doesn’t give up easily. Here’s how Girardi and Cashman handled the question:
More newsy notes from last night:
- Cashman said that the Yankees invited Hideki Matsui to Spring Training as a celebrity guest instructor, but Matsui declined because his wife is expecting a child. By the way, Jorge Posada – fresh off his appearance at Women’s Fantasy Camp – has hinted that he’ll be attending.
- Girardi said that there is “no formula” for how the Yankees will handle their catching, but they’re holding firm that it’ll probably be from the group of Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine. The Yankees don’t view Stewart as a starting catcher, but Girardi said that he could see Romine – who remains slated to begin the year at Triple-A – playing in New York for “a substantial amount of time” in the near future.
- Cashman likened Yankees outfield prospect Mason Williams to former big league outfielder Otis Nixon with a little more power, which is a comparison I hadn’t heard before. He also said that Mark Montgomery has a real chance to land at the big league level this year, wielding a nasty slider that could have him help in a David Robertson-type role.
- Cashman on why the Yankees were so quiet on the free agent market: “This market, this winter, was bad.”
- Cashman on what he liked about adding Travis Hafner: “Big hairy monster. I keep saying that, but none of those guys have a lot of hair. He’s the profile we like; on-base percentage with power from the left side. He’s not someone that when he’s coming to the plate, a pitcher is going to be too comfortable facing, especially in our ballpark.”