From the New York Post’s Stefan C. Friedman.

Mayor Bloomberg played a key role in the Yankees trading for fan favorite and fellow Republican Al Leiter, making personal pitches to both the left-handed hurler and team brass to get a deal done, The Post has learned.

Hours after the Florida Marlins designated Leiter for assignment, Hizzoner got on his cellphone late Friday afternoon to encourage Leiter ” whose 19-season career started with the Yankees in 1987 ” and team president Randy Levine to broker an agreement.

“I hear Al’s available,” Bloomberg (above) said to Levine, a source close to the mayor told The Post. “Wouldn’t it be great if you guys could bring him back to New York?

“Leiter would be a great addition to the Yankees,” Bloomberg added, according to another source.

After that five- to 10-minute chat, Bloomberg dialed the just-jilted Leiter in Florida.

The mayor said, “I don’t know what your next move is, but New York would welcome you back with open arms,” a source recalled.

If you believe the above bullshit, you were probably also surprised when Ed Koch didn’t marry Bess Meyerson. Much as I’d love to imagine a scenario in which Al Leiter and his representatives were unaware the Yankees needed starting pitching (almost as much fun as pretending that neither Brian Cashman nor George Steinbrenner reads the waiver wire, look at the newspapers, listen to the radio, watch “Sportscenter”, etc.), it is far easier to swallow the notion that in the wake of the failed Olympic bid / West Side Stadium debacle, Bloomberg wants you to know he’s a swell, sporty guy.