Angels catcher Rene Rivera will be sidelined for up to six weeks, the club announced Friday. He was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right knee inflammation last Sunday and underwent surgery for a torn meniscus.
Rivera, 34, signed on as a backup catcher to the Angels’ Martin Maldonado back in January. Since then, he’s slashed a healthy .259/.322/.481 with six extra-base hits and an .804 OPS in 59 plate appearances this spring. While manager Mike Scioscia doesn’t anticipate any complications with the veteran catcher’s recovery process, the team will have to wait and see whether he can maintain that kind of consistent production upon his return this summer.
In the interim, rookie backstop Jose Briceno is expected to shoulder Rivera’s workload. The 25-year-old is working through his second year in the Angels’ organization and currently batting .261/.272/.500 with six home runs in 92 PA for Triple-A Salt Lake. He’s likely to make his big league debut sometime in the next week.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.