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OC Register: Angels catcher Rene Rivera to miss 4 to 6 weeks after knee surgery

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NEW YORK — René Rivera suffered an injury that resulted from, essentially, 18 years of being a professional catcher.

The Angels announced on Friday that Rivera underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, an injury that will have him out for four to six weeks.

Manager Mike Scioscia, a former catcher, said it was a simple matter of wear and tear.

“It’s obviously a tough break for René right now, and a tough break for us,” he said. “It’s what happens when you’re catching.”

Although Rivera was the Angels’ backup catcher, he still played a fairly important role. Starting catcher Martín Maldonado caught a major-league leading 137 games last year, a workload that strongly contributed to his hitting deteriorating down the stretch.

Rivera had proven capable of giving Maldonado more time off, playing strong defense and hitting .259 with three homers and an .804 OPS in 54 at-bats.

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Now the Angels backup is José Briceño, a 25-year-old who is still waiting to play his first major league game. The fact that Maldonado started behind the plate on Thursday, a day game after a long night game, could be interpreted to mean the Angels will not rest Maldonado as much with Briceño as the backup.

“Martín will play as much as he can and stay fresh,” Scioscia said. “José will certainly get his looks.”


The nerve specialist who has examined Matt Shoemaker multiple times in the past two weeks has ruled out “peripheral nerve involvement,” according to a statement released by the Angels. Shoemaker has instead been diagnosed with “mild edema,” which is similar to a bruise, in his forearm. He will undergo a bone scan.

The upshot of all that is the Angels still do not have a definitive explanation for Shoemaker’s injury, nor a course of treatment.

“I don’t know if we’re any closer to a solution now, but I know they are looking at every aspect with Matt and I hope we’re going to find out what’s going on and move forward from there,” Scioscia said.


Garrett Richards said he was not surprised to learn the results of major league baseball’s study on the change in baseballs over the last few years, which resulted in them traveling farther. Although the study didn’t have a definitive explanation for what part of the manufacturing of the balls resulted in the change, it did conclude the balls had less drag, allowing them to go farther.

“I think everybody in this league has thrown a baseball long enough to know there’s something different,” Richards said. “They feel different… Balls that aren’t hit as well go farther. There are more mis-hit balls that aren’t struck extremely well.”

Richards was also suspicious of major league baseball’s claim that there was no intent to change the balls: “They wanted more offense. Everyone wanted more offense. Mission accomplished.”


After scratching Shohei Ohtani’s expected start this weekend because of what the team called “workload management,” Scioscia said his next start will be “this next week sometime.” …

Jaime Barría will start for the Angels on Saturday, as expected. The Angels optioned Barría after his last start, a game in which he gave up one run in seven innings against the Houston Astros. The Angels sent him down because an off day in the schedule allowed them to go with only five starters on the active roster, instead of six. The Angels optioned outfielder Michael Hermosillo after the game to make room for Barría…

Right-hander Nathan Bates, who was on the Angels’ Double-A roster, was suspended for 50 games for a second positive test for a drug of abuse, major league baseball announced. Bates, a 15th-round pick in 2015, has a career 5.47 ERA in 61 minor league games.


Angels (Jaime Barría, 3-1, 2.13) at Yankees (Sonny Gray, 3-3, 5.48), Saturday, 4 p.m., Fox, KLAA (830 AM)

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