First Pitch: Mo, the center of attention?

NEW YORK -- Mariano Rivera hasn’t started a game since 1995.

Eighteen years later, the greatest closer in baseball history should start again -- in center field.

Rivera told MLB Network in 2011 that he’d love to play center before he retires.

“I would love to play center field at least for one inning or one out. I told my manager. I don’t think it would happen, but I hope so,” Rivera said.

With the Yankees out of the playoff race and just four meaningless games left in the season, why the heck not?

Why not have some fun?

“To me, the only way it would be feasible would be in a bad situation for our team to where we weren’t going to make the playoffs,” manager Joe Girardi said back in February.

Hmm ... sounds like the perfect time, then, doesn’t it Joe?

(And none of this one-inning, make-us-wait nonsense. A full nine-inning ballgame, please.)

Remember: Rivera has never had a hit. He’s 0-for-3 with an RBI walk in four plate appearances.

Rivera has given so much to the Yankees and the game. If there’s anyone who deserves this chance, it’s him.

UP NOW: Wallace Matthews on the Yankees’ elimination from playoff contention. I blogged about Mo’s reaction.

ON DECK: The end of a Bronx Tale featuring Mo and Big Game Andy. Ivan Nova (9-5, 3.13 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb (10-3, 2.90) on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m.