Rene Rivera: A Second Chance in MLB
Rene Rivera at the young age of 25, was at a crossroads in his professional baseball career. He was attracting no offers for himself to get a chance to revive and get a second chance at making it in the major leagues a reality. This was despite having a solid stint as the Mariners catcher from 2004-2006.
It was looking like Rivera was going to be the long term solution at catcher for Seattle. That unfortunately went by the boards and he was left without a spot on any roster in the major leagues. Rivera had hit rock bottom and was looking for some sort of opportunity to re-enter the sport. That opportunity would come courtesy of a former major league player.
Von Hayes was a former major league baseball player who at the time was the manager of the Camden Riversharks, an independent baseball team. He had remembered Rivera when the catcher was playing with the Mariners back in the mid 2000’s and offered him a job with his team. To Rivera’s credit, he made the most of his opportunity with the Riversharks and caught the attention of the Yankees, who signed him to a minor league deal. This development was already a major one from where he was, at home and waiting for the phone to ring.
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Though he did not stick around long with the Yankees organization, he parlayed that opportunity into one with the Padres, who signed him to a minor league deal in December of 2012. He has been a Godsend for San Diego, as he has come up to the big club and been a key player for them in terms of handling the pitching staff, controlling the run game of the opponent, and also contributing some offense once in a while. A great example of how he has controlled the run game, is the fact that he has thrown out 27 base runners who would have had a stolen base had it not been for his great arm strength and accuracy.
The starting pitchers rave about his ability to call a game, and what pitch to throw in a certain game situation. It has let the starters just focus on throwing there pitches, not having to think allot about before winding up and throwing a pitch. That type of comfort and stability is so key to a starting rotation and the Padres are blessed to have a catcher on their roster like Rivera.
At age 31, Rivera knows that at this stage of his career, their is no guarantee of another opportunity, especially as valuable as the one that has got him back in the majors. So far, he has taken full advantage of this second chance at a career as a professional baseball player, and looks to only add to it as the years go on. Whether his career keeps him in San Diego or he goes elsewhere, Rivera has made his dream come true once again playing in the major leagues.