Saturday, July 6, 2013
Rivera: All-Star selection 'a privilege'
By Ian Begley
NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera's accomplished a lot over his career. Four world series wins. Baseball's all-time saves leader (637 and counting). Second-most seasons played as a Yankee (19) in franchise history.
But the number that will be most important to him in a couple weeks is 13.
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As in All-Star Game appearances.
Rivera was voted to the All-Star Game for the ninth and final time on Saturday.
"It's always a privilege. It's always a privilege to be a part of the All-Star team. Wonderful. Thank God for that," Rivera said after notching his 29th save of the season in a 5-4 win over the Orioles. "[I] have to do something good there."
"There" is Citi Field, the site of this year's All-Star Game. Rivera has said that he doesn't want to start the game, so AL manager Jim Leyland will have to figure out how to work Rivera in the game if there is no save opportunity.
Rivera said last month that he has no interest in starting.
"What I do is close the games, I don't start the games. It's a privilege and honor, but I'm not contemplating it," he told ESPNNewYork.com's Michael Mazzeo.
Rivera said on Saturday that his experience on July 16 in Queens won't be any different from the other 12 Mid Summer Classics he's suited up for.
"I don't see it like that," Rivera said. "I'm going to enjoy it."
Rivera, who tied Derek Jeter and Joe Dimaggio for the most All-Star appearances in franchise history, later added in a statement: "It's wonderful to be named an All-Star again, especially with the game being here in New York. New York fans are the best and they deserve it. I know that they will put on a great show and hopefully we'll do a good job."
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Outfielder Vernon Wells took some ground balls at first base before Saturday's game to get ready for what could be a cameo appearance at the position in the near future.
Joe Girardi said that Wells may see some time at first base before the All Star break because the Yankees play 20 consecutive games before the break. The manager said he'd like to get regular first baseman Lyle Overbay a day off during the Yanks' stretch of 20 straight games. So he'd ask Wells to put on his first-baseman's glove.
Wells seemed comfortable with the idea.
"It's a lot closer, that's for sure," Wells joked. "It's a matter of learning the ins and outs of the position. I'm not going to win a gold glove, but I'll do my best."
NO FREE PASSES: Yankee pitches held their opponent without a walk on Saturday for the 12th time this season, the highest such total in the majors. ... Overbay (3-for-4) recorded his highest hit total in a single game since his season high (four) set on May 10 against Kansas City. Chris Stewart snapped an 0-for-17 stretch with a fifth-inning single.