Yanks' Rivera says no to all-star game tribute

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera gives a thumbs-up sign to a fan in May after he was honored...

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera gives a thumbs-up sign to a fan in May after he was honored before the last regular season MLB American League baseball game he will play against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. (REUTERS/Dave Kaup)

THE SPORTS XCHANGE

, Last Updated: 2:22 PM ET

New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera doesn't like the talk he's hearing about being named the starting pitcher for the annual All-Star Game next month.

There is speculation that manager Jim Leyland will make Rivera, who is retiring at the end of this season, the starter for the July 16 game at Citi Field in New York as a tribute to the future Hall of Famer. Some fan groups are even lobbying for it.

Rivera said Sunday that he prefers his normal closer role. He has four saves in the All-Star Game during his career and a major-league record 634 saves during the regular season.

"I've been told about it, but I don't like it," Rivera told ESPN NewYork.com. "And the reason why I say that is it's not what I do. 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."

Rivera's 26 saves this season are tied for the major-league lead with Baltimore Orioles closer Jim Johnson and Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Jason Grilli. The 43-year-old Rivera has a 1.61 ERA and has blown just one blown save.

"I think the right thing is to do it the way it (normally) is," Rivera said. "I don't want to start the game and give up 10 runs in the first inning. I'd rather pitch in the ninth than the first."

Detroit's Max Scherzer appears to be leading candidate to start for the American League with a 11-0 record.


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