HOUSTON -- It figures to be nearly impossible for Mariano Rivera to top the emotional farewell he experienced on Thursday at Yankee Stadium, which creates an interesting dilemma for the Yankees as they visit the Astros for this weekend's season-ending series.
Rivera's final pinstriped exit, handing the ball off to Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte before burying his face in Pettitte's shoulder and weeping, created a touching and poignant memory that could perfectly cap the 43-year-old's career.
But manager Joe Girardi said that it is possible that Rivera could still take the mound in the Astros series, and he also remains open to the idea of playing Rivera in center field during one of these three games. Girardi said that he is giving Rivera the responsibility for all of those decisions.
"I'll talk to him every day to see what he wants to do," Girardi said. "I know he's talked about playing some center field, but I know he has some concern about his leg running out there. That's really up to him. If he wants to do it, he can do it. I'm OK with it."
Girardi said that he has received many positive calls, text messages and e-mails from friends around the league, commenting on how Thursday's game was handled.
"I didn't really think about that, but I just thought it was fitting that those two guys went and got him," Girardi said.
Rookie catcher J.R. Murphy said that he was blessed to be a part of it.
"I'm sure Andy and Jeet would say the same thing -- that moment was all about Mo," Murphy said.
Murphy said that after Rivera left the mound, he and reliever Matt Daley -- both instantly the answers to Yankees trivia questions -- embraced their good fortune.
"I know Matt pretty well from playing with him this year [in the Minors]," Murphy said. "First I told him, 'Let's wait a second, let this soak in.' I told him, 'Look around.' It was pretty cool for us to be out there taking that all in."
Cano not yet ready to talk about free agency
HOUSTON -- The financial gap between Robinson Cano and the Yankees may be significant, but the second baseman said that he is not ready to begin discussing what will be one of the hottest topics of the offseason.
Cano declined to discuss an ESPN.com report published on Thursday that stated, citing sources, that Cano is seeking a contract that could be as large as 10 years and $305 million.
"I know a lot of things are going to come out and say, 'A source, friends of Robbie's and this,' but I know what we're doing and what we're not doing," Cano said on Friday. "I just want to go on vacation, sit down and enjoy, not be watching the news and everything. Then you're going to go crazy."
Earlier this year, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the club had already made Cano a "significant" contract offer. Because of the wide gap between Cano and the Yankees, both sides agreed to put off negotiations until the offseason.
Cano acknowledged this week that he has considered the possibility that he is playing his last games in a Yankees uniform. He also said that he does not want that to take away from the farewell tours for Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte.
"I will be the first one when things happen or we're doing something, I'll say it," Cano said. "Right now, I just want to enjoy the next two or three days. These last three days with Mo, the last thing I want is to be a distraction for the team."
• With the Yankees playing their final three games of the season, Girardi wants to use the series in Houston as a chance to watch some of the team's younger players. He said that Murphy will be behind the plate for two of the three games, and plans to keep working in the lesser-used players.
"It's kind of a reward for them. They're here every day working and trying to get better," Girardi said.
• The Yankees are leaning toward using left-hander David Huff as the starter for Sunday's season finale, but that decision is not yet locked in and could depend on how Friday's and Saturday's games go.
• On this date in 1951, Allie Reynolds pitched his second no-hitter of the season, defeating the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Reynolds had previously no-hit the Indians at Municipal Stadium on July 12.