Yankees might use Mariano Rivera as a center fielder

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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.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?