News Forum Blogs Roster Players Schedule Depth chart Stats Videos Photos

Milwaukee Brewers News



You didn't have to look at the lineup card to know Saturday night was going to be special for Mike Rivera.

The bounce in his step in the clubhouse and the wide smile on his face during batting practice said it all. Rivera, the Milwaukee Brewers' backup catcher, was going to make his first start, just five games into the new season.

Rivera was paired up with right-hander Dave Bush, which he expects to happen often this season.

"Last year I had to wait almost two weeks for my first start," said Rivera, who had two hits, including a double, Saturday night. "At least I know I'm going to catch Bush every five days. That's the plan we have so far. That's what (manager Ken Macha) told me. I'm excited for the chance to be out there more than a little bit."

Rivera was a forgotten man for most of last season. He batted .306 with one home run and 14 RBIs in 21 games. But he made just 15 starts - 13 at catcher and two at first base - and got just 62 at-bats, the fewest of his 12-year professional career.

Macha acknowledged Rivera would get more regular work this season.

"We talked about that in spring training. Right now, (starter Jason) Kendall is struggling with the bat, too, so it's probably a good day to get a day off for him," Macha said. "Watching all of spring training, if there was another guy I'd have him catch it would be (Manny) Parra."

Macha said he did something similar with Kendall when the two were in Oakland as a way to give him set days off. Kendall led the majors and set a franchise record with 149 starts last season.

"The idea is to keep (Kendall) fresh so when we get into August and September, he will be able to go in most of those games," Macha said.

Hoffman update

Macha said injured closer Trevor Hoffman (strained right oblique) long-tossed from 120 feet for 10 minutes during pre-game warm-ups. Macha added Hoffman would probably take today off, but the hope is he'll have thrown off a mound by the time the Brewers leave for New York for a nine-game road trip that begins Friday.

Macha also said Hoffman, who was eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday, will be sent for a minor league rehab assignment, most likely after several bullpen and batting practice sessions.

"He's definitely going to pitch somewhere, there's no doubt about that," Macha said.

No bull

Macha said he met with his relievers while the team was in San Francisco, and they asked him about their individual roles. The bullpen is somewhat unsettled with Hoffman out and Carlos Villanueva filling in at closer.

"I don't like to have roles for the guys," Macha said. "Guys that pitch good are going to pitch more and they kind of know that now."

Around the horn

Macha hinted he'd make some lineup changes for today's game against Cubs right-hander Ryan Dempster , who was 4-0 in five starts against Milwaukee last season. "Dempster, from what I heard, pretty much had his way with this club last year," Macha said. "There might be a couple lineup changes tomorrow, try something different. So we'll see." ... Several high-profile Brewers prospects had noteworthy performances Friday. Second baseman Brett Lawrie , last year's first round pick, hit his first professional home run for Class A Wisconsin. Right-hander Mark Rogers , the club's top pick in 2004, made his first appearance since 2006 - he missed the last two seasons with consecutive right shoulder surgeries - at Class A Brevard County, throwing three scoreless innings.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 14, 2009

Milwaukee Brewers Photos
All the latest Milwaukee Brewers Photos Store photographs. Major League Baseball MLB.
The most recent photo
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Subscribe in NewsGator Online
Add to Windows Live

Copyright ©, Inc. All rights reserved 2008.