Mariano Rivera: “It means the whole world to me”
Here’s what you need to know as the Yankees prepare for Mariano Rivera’s final game at Yankee Stadium, home game No. 81. Tonight’s starting pitchers are Ivan Nova (9-5, 3.13) and Alex Cobb (10-3, 2.90).
Rivera is expected to pitch tonight in what will be an emotional night for the retiring closer, and he was pleased to hear that the Yankees are expecting a sellout crowd for tonight’s game against the Rays.
“I appreciate that, it means a lot to me,” Rivera said. “It means the whole world to me. It’s amazing. I definitely appreciate the fans for that.”
Rivera said that he has not thought about what it will be like to enter a game at Yankee Stadium for the final time.
“I haven’t,” he said. “I’ve been so overwhelmed that I can’t anymore. When it happens tonight, we’ll see what happens.”
Other notes —
– I think it would be fun to see Rivera finally get a chance to play an inning in center field. It’s something he has requested, and Joe Girardi said he is “absolutely” considering doing it this weekend in Houston. Rivera wants to make clear that “this is not a joke” and he would take it seriously.
– Alex Rodriguez “does not have permission” to skip the Yankees’ season-ending trip to Houston, according to manager Joe Girardi. The New York Daily News reported on Thursday that Rodriguez may not travel for the club’s final three games against the Astros, instead remaining in New York to prepare for his appeal of a 211-game suspension, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 30. Brian Cashman said that the Daily News report is “a false story.”
– This is the Yankees’ first home game not being in the playoff picture since Oct. 3, 1993 against the Tigers.
– Girardi said on Thursday that he is not prepared to discuss his future with the club. Girardi’s contract expires after the season. The Yankees have expressed interest in retaining Girardi, who has also been linked to the Cubs and Nationals in published reports.
“That’s something for the offseason,” Girardi said. “Let’s get through these four days and then I can maybe start to address those questions. I’ve said many times: I’ve really enjoyed being here as a manager, a coach, a manager, a player, a broadcaster. I love my time here, but that’s not something that’s handled in-season, and I’ll wait until the offseason.”
– Girardi had little reaction to an ESPN.com report that second baseman Robinson Cano could be trying to land a 10-year, $305 million deal in free agency this winter.
“That’s not something that I discuss,” Girardi said. “You never know the truth of some of the reports that are out there. I’m glad I don’t necessarily have to worry about that kind of money.”