Oh boy, this might be fun.
For tonight it’ll be business as usual because the Yankees are playing the Rays and Tampa Bay is going after a playoff spot, but manager Joe Girardi just told reporters that he’s “absolutely” considering using Mariano Rivera in center field during the final series in Houston.
Rivera has always loved shagging fly balls in the outfield–that’s how he injured his knee last season–and has talked in the past about wanting to play center field, even for just an inning. And why not give him a shot? It’s not like the Astros will care, I’m sure the Yankees and their fans would get a huge kick out of it, and the possibility of Rivera chasing after a fly ball and having to contend with that crazy hill in Houston’s outfield sounds all kinds of fun.
I mean, if position players can pitch in blowouts on a relatively regular basis why can’t Rivera be a position player for 20 minutes? And then maybe he can pitch the next inning.
Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.