With Travis d'Arnaud going on the disabled list earlier this week, the Mets called up 32-year-old catcher Rene Rivera to serve as the backup to Kevin Plawecki. With Plawecki getting the day off today, Rivera will catch Jacob deGrom and bat eighth.
Originally a second-round draft pick for the Seattle Mariners, Rivera has bounced around various organizations over the course of his career, spending time with the Padres, Twins, Yankees, Dodgers, and Mariners, in addition to spending 2009 with the Mets' Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons. The Mets signed Rivera on April 5 after the Tampa Bay Rays released him late in spring training.
Generally a capable defensive catcher with offensive shortcomings, Rivera had a good year at the plate in 2014 with the Padres, appearing in 103 games and hitting .252/.319/.432 with 11 home runs. The Rays hoped for similar results in 2015 when they traded for him, but were disappointed with a much weaker .178/.213/.275 season from Rivera. In eight games with Triple-A Las Vegas this season, Rivera hit .280/.357/.320.
Rivera throws right-handed and hits from the right side of the plate. He has not shown extreme platoon splits over the course of his career, though he crushed lefties in his breakout 2014 for a .881 OPS over 111 plate appearances. Today he faces right-hander Matt Cain.
Don't expect too much offensive production from Rivera, but don't be surprised if he manages to throw out a baserunner. Rivera's arm has been consistently above average in the majors, catching 23 of the 63 runners who attempted a stolen base in 2015 for a 37% caught stealing percentage. That's better than either d'Arnaud's or Plawecki's performed last year.