Craig Calcaterra

Tampa Bay Rays catcher Rene Rivera looks at his finger after getting hit with a swing from Detroit Tigers' Nick Castellanos during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Rivera remained in the game. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Dude with a .493 OPS complains about playing time

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This is fun: catcher Rene Rivera said yesterday that he is disappointed with his playing time.

The Tampa Bay Times has a report on it today, and Rivera says that his benching, even from his personal catching role for Chris Archer, “sucks.” Which they change to “stinks,” but you know he said “sucks.” He added:

“I feel like if you are going to give the opportunity to a guy, you should stick with him and help him get through slumps . . . The first half I played a lot and I didn’t do right as a hitter. But I feel like the second half would be better, and I didn’t have the chance to do it.”

The Rays, while in last place now, were arguably within striking distance of a playoff slot for a good chunk of the middle of the season. In the first half of the season Rivera hit .185/.221/.306 and struck out 61 times in 238 plate appearances. He has been even worse in the second half, and on the year his line stands at .180/.214/.279. Meanwhile, J.P. Arencibia was called up at the end of August and has hit .327/.333/.655 since then. Sustainable? Of course not. But considerably better than what Rivera has done.

All of which is to say: weird time for playing time complaints.

AC/DC “totally messed up” Wrigley Field

Angus Young
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Mark Gonzalez of the Chicago Tribune reports that Joe Maddon and the Cubs are not at all pleased with AC/DC. And not simply because they haven’t put out anything listenable since “Stiff Upper Lip.” No, he’s mad at what they did to the turf and infield at Wrigley following their concert there on September 15:

“Since the AC/DC concert, we’ve had a little bit of trouble . . . I don’t know if they were out there taking ground balls before the game, or if they had nine-inch heels or spikes. They totally messed up the infield.”

The Cubs replaced the outfield grass as well. It looks OK on TV, but Cubs reporters were tweeting last Friday when the Cubs got back home that it appeared to be something of an uneven mess.

I realize that money talks, but allowing non-baseball events in ballparks during the baseball season is pretty lame. Whether it be for the turf like this or for the schedule, such as the Astros’ wonderful 1992 road trip to make room for the Republican National Convention. That was 26 games out on the road. That was bad enough as it was, but Pete Incavaglia was on that team. Can you imagine traveling for nearly four weeks with Pete Incavaglia? Talk about a Highway to Hell.

Anyway, here’s hoping things get smoothed out in time for the playoffs. Assuming, anyway, that the Cubs get a home playoff game.

Billy Hamilton to have season-ending shoulder surgery

Billy Hamilton, Josh Harrison
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C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton will undergo right shoulder surgery on Friday. The injury: a sprained capsule which has caused him problems for a while now and recently sent him to the DL. There is no structural damage, the Reds say, and he should be ready to go for spring training, but his season is over.

Hamilton has been something less than a complete player in his two full seasons in the bigs, showing off all kinds of speed, of course, but not showing that he can get on base or hit for anything approaching the sort of authority required of a major leaguer. He actually took a step back this year, putting up a line of .226/.274/.289 and only 15 extra base hits in 114 games. He does have 57 stolen bases in 65 attempts, of course.

All of which is to say that it’s good that his shoulder is gonna get fixed, but he needs a lot more than a good shoulder, it seems, to be an everyday major leaguer. Here’s hoping he figures it out, because he’s fun to watch otherwise.