July 10 (Bloomberg) -- Mariano Rivera usually closes games at Yankee Stadium. Next week, he may get to start one there for the American League All-Stars.
Boston's Terry Francona, the AL manager for the All-Star Game, refused to rule out picking the New York Yankees' relief ace as his starting pitcher or his closer for the July 15 game in the Bronx.
Rivera has saved 23 games this season and 466 in his 14- year career with the Yankees. Major League Baseball is holding next week's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium to honor the final season of the 85-year-old ballpark. Rivera, Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will be representing the Yankees.
Francona said he'll reveal the American League's starting pitcher at a press conference the day before the game.
"Everything and everybody and every situation will be treated with the utmost respect to where we are playing," Francona said today on a conference call with reporters "We are supposed to win the game, and that's what we are going to try to do."
Francona will manage the American League and Clint Hurdle of the Colorado Rockies will lead the National League because their teams won their leagues and played in the World Series last season. The Red Sox swept the Rockies in four games for the championship.
Rivera hasn't started a game since his rookie year, when he started 10. Starting the All-Star Game would insure the right- hander makes an appearance in a meaningful situation. He normally enters in the eighth or ninth inning to try to seal a victory.
Interesting discussion I think. Do you save Mo for the end of the game, when it could be tight and he might be needed for a save opp or it just as well might not be a close game therefore diminishing his appearance? Or do you give him the start, something people will surely remember for a while?
I'm a Red Sox fan yes but I'm also a huge fan of the game so I'm mixed. I'd love to see Mo close out a win for the AL in Yankee Stadium but it's just as likely the NL leads late or it's not a close enough game where his appearance means anything. But if you give him the start, that's some big buzz right there and something he and everyone else would remember for some time. What's the harm in letting him start the first inning or two? Obviously Francona would keep an eye on a pitch count so as not to let him extend himself past what he would normally throw. I say if he can get two innings in at about 30-40 pitches why not?