Although flattered, Yankees legend Mariano Rivera doesn’t want to start the All-Star Game in Queens!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/baseball.jpg

Mariano Rivera doesn’t want Jim Leyland to change him in Queens.

Although flattered by rumors that American League manager Jim Leyland wants the reliever to start the July 16 All-Star Game at Citi Field, New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera doesn’t “like” the idea.

“I’ve been told about it, but I don’t like it,” said Rivera, 43, who is currently tied with Baltimore’s Jim Johnson and Pittsburgh’s Jason Grilli for the MLB lead in saves with 26. “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.”

Blowing only one game this season, the 6-foot-2, 185 pound Rivera (0-1, 1.61 ERA) has fanned 27 batters in 28 innings over 31 appearances on the hill.

Retiring in roughly three months, it is astounding that the surefire future Hall of Famer has been so effective after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in May 2012.

Using his famed cutter to become a 12-time All-Star and five-time AL Rolaids Relief Man Award winner, Rivera is the embodiment of class and professionalism.

Battling the Orioles and Boston Red Sox for supremacy in the East, it would be remarkable if Rivera could lead the Yankees (41-34) to their 28th championship in franchise history this autumn.

Considering such a scenario seems increasingly unlikely, it would be “a privilege and honor” to watch Mariano Rivera “close the game” a few weeks from tonight in Queens.

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