Results tagged ‘ Mike Rivera ’

Opportunity knocks for catchers

With No. 1 catcher Jonathan Lucroy expected to spend the next month recovering from surgery for a fractured pinkie, there exists the real possibility that either George Kottaras or Wil Nieves, or perhaps Mike Rivera, will make his first-ever Opening Day start. None of those players were celebrating that possibility on Thursday morning. 

“It’s always sad to see one of your teammates getting hurt,” said Nieves, who joined the Brewers as a free agent in December. “I don’t see George or Lucroy or the other guys as competition, I see them as teammates.”
Said Kottaras: “I’m just going to go out and do what I needed to do in the first place. I’m going to try to get better, and that was the whole goal coming in.”
 
The catchers were working on fielding throws from the outfield on Wednesday morning when a ball skipped on the hard infield and fractured his right pinkie finger. Lucroy finished the drill, but later underwent x-rays that revealed the broken bone. 
“The grass was a little bit fast and the ball was skipping hard,” Nieves said. “You feel bad for him, but I told him, ‘You’re going to be fine.’ I know he was excited for this season, and he still should be excited. If he misses a couple of games, it’s not going to be a big deal. He’s a strong kid.”
Lucroy is expected to miss about four weeks, putting him on track to be healed about a week before the Brewers’ March 31 opener in Cincinnati. But Lucroy might have to stay back in extended Spring Training to get back into hitting and throwing shape.
The Brewers will make those determinations deeper into Lucroy’s rehabilitation. 
Nieves has been a part of five Opening Day rosters — two with the Yankees and three with the Nationals — but has never started. In Washington, the reserves lined up along the foul lines while the starters ran in from the outfield on a red carpet, with fireworks exploding overhead. 
Rivera was on the Opening Day roster in 2008 and 2009. Kottaras was on Milwaukee’s Opening Day roster last year. 
“I feel one step ahead because I know some of the guys and I’m so used to catching them in the past,” Kottaras said. “When I came in last year I didn’t know anybody, their tendencies and so forth. having that year’s experience with the guys, I feel more comfortable.”
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Brewers re-sign Rivera, Hinton

The Brewers extended two more invitations to Major League Spring Training camp this week, signing catcher Mike Rivera and right-hander Robert Hinton to Minor League contracts that promise a locker in the big league clubhouse at Maryvale Baseball Park. 

Rivera, 34, was a capable backup for the Brewers from 2006-09 but was let go after the 2009 season because he was eligible for salary arbitration. He signed with the Yankees and later with the Marlins, for whom he appeared in seven Major League games last season. 
With Rivera back in the organization, it will be interesting to see what the Brewers do with George Kottaras, who couldn’t throw out opposing baserunners in 2010. Kottaras is still an affordable “zero to three” player for next season but he’s out of Minor League options.
Hinton, 26, has pitched the past seven seasons in the Brewers’ farm system. He was 4-4 with a 4.16 ERA in a 2010 season split between Double-A Huntsville and Triple-A Nashville. 
The Brewers also re-signed Milwaukee native Chris Nowak to a Minor League contract that doesn’t include a big-league camp invite. The Waukesha North High School graduate finished last season at Double-A Huntsville. 
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Crew officials mulling tender date

After committing more than $37 million on free agents Randy Wolf and LaTroy Hawkins at the Winter Meetings, the Brewers could cap the week with some cost savings. 

Club officials have until 10:59 p.m. CT to tender contracts to unsigned players for 2010 or let them join the pool of free agents. Of particular interest are the seven players who would be arbitration-eligible if they are offered a contract, and thus likely to see their salaries jump.

That list is made up of starter Dave Bush ($4 million salary last season), relievers Todd Coffey ($800,002), Seth McClung ($1.6625 million) and Carlos Villanueva ($447,000), outfielders Jody Gerut ($1.775 million), Carlos Gomez ($437,500) and Corey Hart ($3.25 million) and catcher Mike Rivera ($415,000).

Of that group, Coffey, Villanueva, Gomez and Hart are all but guaranteed tenders and Bush and Gerut fall into the “likely” category. Brewers officials were meeting Friday to discuss the entire group.

McClung in particular is waiting to learn his fate. The right-hander posted a 4.94 ERA in 41 games, including two starts, and missed nearly two months with a sprained right elbow. He returned for three appearances before the end of the season, but it was a disappointing follow-up to McClung’s fine 2008 season in which he made 25 relief appearances and 12 starts and was so valuable late in the year during the Brewers’ postseason push.

The numbers game works against McClung in Milwaukee’s bullpen. Trevor Hoffman is back as the closer, and Coffey and Hawkins (assuming he passes his physical next week) are ticketed for set-up roles. The Brewers are close to re-signing Claudio Vargas, who was solid in the second half of 2009 and, like McClung, has history as a starter. So does Villanueva, who figures to be a lower-cost option than McClung. The Brewers also have left-hander Mitch Stetter back and will take a look in Spring Training at Rule 5 pick Chuck Lofgren, another lefty.

Rivera ($415,000 salary last season) is also part of a crowded field. The team last week signed veteran catcher Gregg Zaun and assured him he’ll be the regular starter behind the plate, and also added George Kottaras via the waiver wire on Nov. 18. Catching prospects Angel Salome and Jonathan Lucroy will be in camp with a chance to win a job, and Brewers general manager Doug Melvin has mentioned LuCroy as a candidate to make the roster.

In 41 games as Jason Kendall’s backup last season, Rivera batted .228 with two home runs and 14 RBIs. He’s been the Brewers’ backup catcher in each of the past four seasons.

Teams rarely nontender so-called “zero-to-three” players who don’t have enough service time to qualify for arbitration, but they are likely to cut loose reliever Mark DiFelice on Saturday to free his 40-man roster spot. DiFelice underwent shoulder surgery last week and expects to be sidelined for the 2010 season. The Brewers could re-sign him to a Minor League contract.

The Brewers currently have 39 players on the 40-man roster so they need DiFelice’s roster spot for Wolf and Hawkins, who are scheduled for physical exams next week to finalize their contracts.

After all 30 teams make their decisions on Saturday, the Brewers will scour the list for new free agents of interest and will probably be particularly interested in starting pitchers and backup outfielders. One pitcher to keep an eye on is Kevin Correia, who might be non-tendered by the Padres after earning $1.1 million with incentives in 2009.

The Brewers showed interest in Correia last winter before he signed a Minor League deal with the Padres and tried to acquire him again in July. The key would be Correia’s asking price after his solid year.

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Brewers sign catcher Zaun

The Brewers didn’t wait for the start of next week’s Winter Meetings to make their first Major League free agent signing.

The team on Friday inked switch-hitting catcher Gregg Zaun to a one-year deal with a club option for 2011 in a move that signaled the end of Jason Kendall’s tenure in Milwaukee. The sides reached terms late Thursday night and Zaun traveled to Milwaukee early Friday morning for a physical exam.

“It was an opportunity to play every day and I’m excited about that,” Zaun said. “I’m 38 years old and a lot of people have made assumptions about how much I can play, but I like that challenge. I’ll have to earn it every day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.” 

The Brewers were the most aggressive of Zaun’s suitors, and the financial package they offered didn’t hurt. Zaun, who earned $1.5 million last season from the Orioles and Rays, is guaranteed $2.15 million in his contract with the Brewers. 

He’ll get a $1.9 million salary in 2010 with the opportunity to earn $600,000 more in bonuses based on games started. The Brewers hold a $2.25 million option for 2011 with a $250,000 buyout.

“They were aggressive early,” Zaun said. “It made me feel important to them.” 

He will play an important role in 2010. Kendall had been Milwaukee’s regular catcher the past two seasons but he earned $5 million in 2009 and Brewers officials decided to go with a cheaper option. 

The Brewers now have to decide how to line up Zaun’s backups. The incumbents include Mike Rivera, who has been Milwaukee’s back-up since 2006 but he’s arbitration-eligible this winter and can expect a bump in pay. The Brewers also claimed left-handed hitter George Kottaras off waivers from the Red Sox this fall and have a pair of catching prospects in Angel Salome and Jonathan Lucroy. If the team decides to promote Lucroy all the way from Double-A, a possibility already raised by general manager Doug Melvin, the experienced Zaun could help him break into the Majors.

Zaun has already played for eight teams in a 15-year career that began with the Orioles in 1995. He split 2009 between Baltimore, where he mentored stud catching prospect Matt Wieters, and Tampa Bay, where he finished the year after an August trade. In 90 games he was a .260 hitter with eight home runs and 27 RBIs.

Zaun is a Type B free agent and Tampa Bay offered him arbitration. Because he signed before Monday’s deadline for players to accept or decline the offer, the Rays will receive a compensatory pick between the first- and second rounds of next year’s Draft.

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GM says Kottaras claim is about depth

The Brewers added catching depth on Wednesday by claiming onetime Padres prospect George Kottaras off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.

Kottaras, 26 and a left-handed hitter, reportedly asked out of Boston after it became clear that Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek would be back in 2010. Kottaras appeared in 45 games with the Red Sox last season and batted .237 with one home run and 10 RBIs.

He is out of Minor League options, and joins catchers Mike Rivera and Angel Salome on Milwaukee’s 40-man roster. The Brewers also plan to give a long Spring Training look to prospect Jonathan Lucroy, whom general manager Doug Melvin mentioned this month as a candidate to jump from Double-A to the Majors in 2010.

Rivera, Salome and Lucroy are all right-handed hitters.

“If we can get better, then we’ll try to get better,” Melvin said. “We have to have depth. We have Salome and Lucroy, we have Kottaras and we still have Rivera, but we don’t have a front-line guy.” 

That guy in the past two seasons was Jason Kendall, but Kendall cost $5 million in 2009 and Melvin made it clear to agent Arn Tellem that the Brewers didn’t intend to spend that much behind the plate next year.

Rivera is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter, but Melvin wouldn’t say what the Brewers plans are for him next season. The team has until Dec. 12 to decide whether to tender Rivera a 2010 contract.  

Asked for his thoughts about the team’s catching situation in general, Melvin said, “It’s too early to say what we’ll do. We haven’t gotten to the Winter Meetings. Free agency hasn’t even started yet so we can’t really talk to anyone.” 

Teams own exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents for the 15 days following the World Series. They are free to negotiate with all free agents beginning at 12:01 a.m. ET on Friday. 

As recently as three years ago, Kottaras was rated the second-best prospect in San Diego’s organization by Baseball America. He was traded from San Diego to Boston late that year to complete the trade that sent pitcher David Wells to the Padres.

In seven Minor League seasons, Kottaras is a .269 hitter with 66 home runs and 289 RBIs. His best year was 2007, when he batted .243 for Boston’s Triple-A affiliate with a career-best 22 home runs and 65 RBIs in 107 games.

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List of arbitration-eligible players

The Major League Baseball Players Association released a list last night of the 210 players potentially eligible for arbitration this winter. We already knew the eight eligible Brewers — Dave Bush, Todd Coffey, Jody Gerut, Carlos Gomez, Corey Hart, Seth McClung, Mike Rivera (first time eligible), Carlos Villanueva (first time eligible) and Rickie Weeks — but I thought it may be helpful to pass along the entire list. Many of these players will become free agents after the Dec. 12 nontender deadline.

The Brewers will face a couple of decisions at that deadline. Do they bring back McClung ($1.6625 million salary in 2009), the versatile right-hander who worked his way back from an elbow injury at the end of last season? Will Gerut ($1.775 million) return based on his strong finish to the 2009 season? If the Brewers do convince free agent catcher Jason Kendall to return at a discount, will they give the backup job to Jonathan Lucroy or bring back Rivera?

We will get into those decisions at a later date. For now, here is the MLBPA list:

List of players potentially eligible for 2010 Salary Arbitration

PLAYER    SERVICE TIME    TEAM    POSITION
1 Aardsma, David 3.082 SEA RP
2 Accardo, Jeremy 3.171 TOR RP
3 Adams, Mike 3.019 SD RP
4 Albers, Matt 2.141 BAL RP
5 Amezaga, Alfredo 5.097 FLA OF
6 Anderson, Brian N. 3.053 BOS OF
7 Atkins, Garrett 5.072 COL 3B
8 Aybar, Erick 3.086 LAA SS
9 Baker, Jeff 3.049 CHC 2B
10 Bale, John R. 4.016 KC RP
11 Balfour, Grant 5.099 TB RP
12 Bannister, Brian 3.158 KC SP
13 Barmes, Clint 4.122 COL 2B
14 Bartlett, Jason 4.086 TB SS
15 Bautista, Jose A. 4.165 TOR OF
16 Bell, Heath 4.099 SD RP
17 Bennett, Jeff 3.012 TB RP
18 Bergmann, Jay 3.064 WAS RP
19 Billingsley, Chad 3.110 LAD SP
20 Blanton, Joe 5.016 PHI SP
21 Bonser, Boof 3.102 MIN RP
22 Bourn, Michael 3.028 HOU OF
23 Boyer, Blaine 3.122 ARI RP
24 Broxton, Jonathan 4.020 LAD RP
25 Bruney, Brian 4.164 NYY RP
26 Bruntlett, Eric 5.102 PHI 2B
27 Buchholz, Taylor 3.140 COL RP
28 Buck, John 5.101 KC C
29 Burnett, Sean 3.085 WAS RP
30 Burton, Jared 2.165 CIN RP
31 Bush, David 5.052 MIL SP
32 Byrdak, Tim 4.150 HOU RP
33 Cabrera, Fernando 3.104 BOS RP
34 Cabrera, Melky 3.148 NYY OF
35 Camp, Shawn 4.170 TOR RP
36 Cantu, Jorge 5.036 FLA 1B
37 Capps, Matt 4.017 PIT RP
38 Carrasco, D.J. 3.141 CWS RP
39 Casilla, Santiago 3.012 OAK RP
40 Cedeno, Ronny 4.029 PIT SS
41 Chavez, Raul A. 5.074 TOR C
42 Choate, Randy 5.073 TB RP
43 Church, Ryan 4.152 ATL OF
44 Coffey, Todd 4.024 MIL RP
45 Colon, Roman 3.133 KC RP
46 Condrey, Clay 4.012 PHI RP
47 Cormier, Lance 4.154 TB RP
48 Correia, Kevin 5.027 SD SP
49 Cotts, Neal 4.081 CHC RP
50 Crain, Jesse 5.039 MIN RP
51 Cust, Jack 4.002 OAK DH
52 Danks, John 3.000 CWS SP
53 Davies, Kyle 4.012 KC SP
54 Davis, Rajai 2.167 OAK OF
55 de la Rosa, Jorge 5.015 COL SP
56 Delcarmen, Manny 3.133 BOS RP
57 Devine, Joe 2.171 OAK RP
58 Diaz, Matt 4.157 ATL OF
59 Dinardo, Lenny 3.157 KC RP
60 Drew, Stephen 3.079 ARI SS
61 Duke, Zach 4.094 PIT SP
62 Durbin, Chad 5.102 PHI RP
63 Ethier, Andre 3.153 LAD OF
64 Feldman, Scott 3.091 TEX SP
65 Feliciano, Pedro 5.059 NYM RP
66 Flores, Jesus 2.158 WAS C
67 Fontenot, Mike 2.139 CHC 3B
68 Francisco, Frank 5.053 TEX RP
69 Francoeur, Jeff 4.088 NYM OF
70 Frasor, Jason 5.134 TOR RP
71 Garko, Ryan 3.091 SF 1B
72 Garza, Matt 2.149 TB SP
73 Gaudin, Chad 4.163 NYY SP
74 German, Esteban 4.069 TEX 2B
75 Gerut, Jody 5.096 MIL OF
76 Gomes, Jonny 4.097 CIN OF
77 Gomez, Carlos 2.141 MIL OF
78 Gordon, Alex 2.162 KC 3B
79 Gorzelanny, Tom 2.160 CHC RP
80 Green, Sean 3.125 NYM RP
81 Grilli, Jason 4.118 TEX RP
82 Gross, Gabe 4.114 TB OF
83 Guerrier, Matt 5.056 MIN RP
84 Guthrie, Jeremy 3.130 BAL SP
85 Gutierrez, Franklin 3.080 SEA OF
86 Guzman, Angel 3.095 CHC RP
87 Hairston, Scott 4.102 OAK OF
88 Hamilton, Josh 3.000 TEX OF
89 Hammel, Jason 2.153 COL SP
90 Hardy, J.J. 4.164 MIN SS
91 Harris, Brendan 3.112 MIN SS
92 Hart, Corey 4.038 MIL OF
93 Heilman, Aaron 5.123 CHC RP
94 Hermida, Jeremy 4.033 BOS OF
95 Hernandez, Felix 4.060 SEA SP
96 Hill, Koyie 3.006 CHC C
97 Howell, J.P. 3.007 TB RP
98 Iannetta, Chris 3.029 COL C
99 Izturis, Maicer 5.038 LAA 2B
100 Jackson, Conor 4.067 ARI OF
101 Jackson, Edwin 4.070 DET SP
102 Jacobs, Mike 4.047 KC DH
103 Janssen, Casey 3.063 TOR RP
104 Jenks, Bobby 4.090 CWS RP
105 Johnson, Josh 4.026 FLA SP
106 Johnson, Kelly 4.127 ATL 2B
107 Karstens, Jeff 2.144 PIT SP
108 Kemp, Matt 3.049 LAD OF
109 Kendrick, Howie 3.091 LAA 2B
110 Kensing, Logan 4.035 WAS RP
111 Keppinger, Jeff 3.052 HOU 3B
112 Kotchman, Casey 4.144 BOS 1B
113 Kouzmanoff, Kevin 3.030 SD 3B
114 Kuo, Hong-Chih 3.114 LAD RP
115 Laird, Gerald 5.077 DET C
116 Langerhans, Ryan 4.062 SEA OF
117 League, Brandon 3.145 TOR RP
118 Lincecum, Tim 2.148 SF SP
119 Lindstrom, Matthew 3.000 FLA RP
120 Liriano, Francisco 3.104 MIN SP
121 Logan, Boone 3.002 ATL RP
122 Loney, James 3.012 LAD 1B
123 Lowe, Mark 3.087 SEA RP
124 Ludwick, Ryan 4.109 STL OF
125 MacDougal, Mike 5.143 WAS RP
126 Maine, John 4.013 NYM SP
127 Marcum, Shaun 3.128 TOR SP
128 Marmol, Carlos 3.084 CHC RP
129 Marshall, Sean 3.088 CHC RP
130 Martin, Russell 3.150 LAD C
131 Masset, Nick 2.146 CIN RP
132 Mathis, Jeff 3.012 LAA C
133 McCarthy, Brandon 4.055 TEX SP
134 McClung, Seth 5.111 MIL RP
135 McGowan, Dustin 3.113 TOR SP
136 Medders, Brandon 3.074 SF RP
137 Meredith, Cla 3.107 BAL RP
138 Miller, Justin 5.070 SF RP
139 Miner, Zach 3.078 DET RP
140 Mitre, Sergio 4.132 NYY SP
141 Montero, Miguel 3.031 ARI C
142 Moylan, Peter 3.061 ATL RP
143 Murton, Matt 3.004 COL OF
144 Napoli, Mike 3.151 LAA C
145 Navarro, Dioner 4.103 TB C
146 Neshek, Pat 3.087 MIN RP
147 Nieves, Wil 3.092 WAS C
148 Nippert, Dustin 2.140 TEX RP
149 Nix, Laynce 4.070 CIN OF
150 Nolasco, Ricky 3.142 FLA SP
151 Nunez, Leo 3.108 FLA RP
152 Ojeda, Augie 4.169 ARI SS
153 Okajima, Hideki 3.000 BOS RP
154 Olsen, Scott 4.101 WAS SP
155 Orr, Pete 3.096 WAS 2B
156 Pagan, Angel 3.144 NYM OF
157 Papelbon, Jon 4.064 BOS RP
158 Paulino, Ronny 3.112 FLA C
159 Pena, Tony 3.076 CWS RP
160 Pence, Hunter 2.156 HOU OF
161 Perez, Rafael 2.157 CLE RP
162 Pinto, Renyel 3.083 FLA RP
163 Qualls, Chad 5.058 ARI RP
164 Quentin, Carlos 3.065 CWS OF
165 Quintero, Humberto 3.141 HOU C
166 Ramirez, Ramon 3.113 BOS RP
167 Ray, Chris 4.098 BAL RP
168 Redding, Tim 5.167 NYM RP
169 Reed, Jeremy 4.016 NYM OF
170 Repko, Jason 3.067 LAD OF
171 Reyes, Anthony 3.027 CLE SP
172 Rivera, Mike 3.081 MIL C
173 Rivera, Saul 3.056 WAS RP
174 Rodriguez, Wandy 4.105 HOU SP
175 Ross, Cody 4.058 FLA OF
176 Ruiz, Carlos 3.069 PHI C
177 Sampson, Chris 3.012 HOU RP
178 Sanchez, Anibal 3.099 FLA SP
179 Sanchez, Jonathan 3.071 SF SP
180 Santiago, Ramon 5.095 DET SS
181 Saunders, Joe 3.013 LAA SP
182 Schumaker, Skip 3.051 STL 2B
183 Scott, Luke 3.144 BAL DH
184 Seay, Bobby 5.118 DET RP
185 Sherrill, George 4.147 LAD RP
186 Shoppach, Kelly 4.021 CLE C
187 Spilborghs, Ryan 3.072 COL OF
188 Street, Huston 5.000 COL RP
189 Sullivan, Cory 4.010 NYM OF
190 Tallet, Brian 4.146 TOR SP
191 Teahen, Mark 4.155 CWS 3B
192 Tejeda, Rob 3.102 KC RP
193 Th
eriot, Ryan 3.118 CHC SS
194 Uggla, Dan 4.000 FLA 2B
195 Upton, B.J. 3.126 TB OF
196 Veras, Jose 3.014 CLE RP
197 Verlander, Justin 4.002 DET SP
198 Victorino, Shane 4.092 PHI OF
199 Villanueva, Carlos 3.053 MIL RP
200 Waechter, Doug 4.087 KC RP
201 Wang, Chien-Ming 4.159 NYY SP
202 Weaver, Jered 3.129 LAA SP
203 Weeks, Rickie 4.131 MIL 2B
204 Willingham, Josh 4.123 WAS OF
205 Willits, Reggie 3.000 LAA OF
206 Wilson, Brian 2.169 SF RP
207 Wilson, C.J. 4.055 TEX RP
208 Wuertz, Michael 4.139 OAK RP
209 Young, Delmon 3.034 MIN OF
210 Zumaya, Joel 4.000 DET RP

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Escobar moves up to eight-hole

At least for today, when Alcides Escobar imoves up a spot against Zach Duke and the Pirates in the opener of a three-game series. I’m guessing that manager Ken Macha’s decision to bat the pitcher in the more conventional nine-hole has something to do with Jason Bourgeois making the start in right field and batting second.

Second baseman Felipe Lopez, who returned to action Thursday after missing one start with a right foot injury, was walking extremely gingerly around the clubhouse yesterday afternoon, but he’s back in action tonight. And so much for seeing more of Mike Rivera; the backup catcher had been paired with Manny Parra of late, but Jason Kendall is catching tonight.

Here’s the lineup:

Felipe Lopez  2B
Jason Bourgeois  RF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Mike Cameron  CF
Jason Kendall  C
Alcides Escobar  SS
Manny Parra  LHP

Rivera starts again

Mike Rivera had to wait nearly three years to start back to back games. He didn’t have to wait more than a week to do it again.

Assuming Mother Nature holds off (she’s thundering at the moment), Rivera will handle Yovani Gallardo in the finale of a three-game series at PNC Park. With Jason Bourgeois playing tonight, Mike Cameron has been boosted up to the two-hole.

Felipe Lopez  2B
Mike Cameron  CF
Ryan Braun  LF
Prince Fielder  1B
Casey McGehee  3B
Mike Rivera  C
Jason Bourgeois  RF
Yovani Gallardo  RHP
Alcides Escobar  SS

Postgame thoughts: Rivera, Fielder, Lopez

Some quick hits after a long game:

- The fans who have been pining for Brewers backup catcher Mike Rivera to start more often will get their wish on Friday. Manager Ken Macha intends to start Rivera for a second straight game when Yovani Gallardo takes the mound against the Astros at Miller Park.

And why not? Rivera, who has been with the Brewers all season but only had 63 at-bats before Thursday, belted a pair of home runs and drove in four as Milwaukee beat up on, then held off the Padres to salvage a win in the series finale. Macha wouldn’t commit past Friday, but the sense was that Rivera, who provides some pop to an offense that, outside of Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Mike Cameron has little, could see more playing time over the final six weeks.

“It’s great,” Rivera said. “I’ve been waiting for this for two years so I’m trying to do my best every time that I’m out there.”

- Speaking of Fielder, he joined Rivera in Thursday’s multi-home run club but wouldn’t emerge from the dining room — off-limits to reporters — to talk about his big day. It would be too bad if last week’s Dodger Stadium experience prompts Fielder to shut out the media.

- Felipe Lopez was just as difficult to locate, but Macha will be seeking him out on Friday. Lopez forgot his fundamentals and dropped what should have been an inning-ending pop-up in the eighth on Thursday, which in turn forced the Brewers to use closer Trevor Hoffman in what once had been a 9-0 game. Macha was similarly puzzled on Tuesday, when Lopez — who, in his defense, has made some terriffic plays at second base and has also been playing through some hamstring issues — couldn’t get to a pair of ground balls.

“One thing about our players is they run every ball out hard, for the most part,” Macha said. “There are a few lapses. That will be a topic of discussion, probably, tomorrow.”

Lopez declined to answer questions on Tuesday. On Thursday, a club official could not find him in the clubhouse.

As promised, Rivera gets the start

Manager Ken Macha plans to pair seldom-used backup catcher Mike Rivera with left-hander Manny Parra for the foreseeable future, beginning with Wednesday’s game against the Nationals. Here are the lineups:

WASHINGTON
Nyjer Morgan CF
Cristian Guzman SS
Josh Willingham LF
Ryan Zimmerman 3B
Nick Johnson 1B
Ronnie Belliard 2B
Austin Kearns RF
Josh Bard C
Garrett Mock RHP

MILWAUKEE
Felipe Lopez 2B
Craig Counsell 3B
Ryan Braun LF
Prince Fielder 1B
Corey Hart RF
Mike Cameron CF
J.J. Hardy SS
Mike Rivera C
Manny Parra LHP

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