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MLB

Angels backup catcher Rene Rivera sidelined up to six weeks

Reporting from NEW YORK — The Angels will be without backup catcher Rene Rivera for an estimated four to six weeks because of torn meniscus in his knee.

Rivera was placed on the disabled list Sunday because of inflammation in the joint. He had surgery Friday.

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“Tough break for Rene right now,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Tough break for us.”

Rivera has appeared in 22 games and has proven to be a reliable contributor in spelling starter Martin Maldonado. His offseason signing was considered a key in keeping Maldonado fresh in 2018.

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Jose Briceno, a rookie who has yet to make his big-league debut, is currently the Angels’ backup. Juan Graterol appeared in one game this season while Maldonado was on the bereavement list.

With the extended loss of Rivera, the Angels could be in a position now to pursue a more experienced backup.

“Martin will play as much as he can and stay fresh,” Scioscia said. “Jose will certainly get his looks in there.”

Shoemaker update

Dr. Susan Mackinnon has ruled out the involvement of the peripheral nerve in Matt Shoemaker’s lingerering forearm trouble.

The latest MRI on the right-hander showed what the team termed “mild edema,” which was described as being similar to bruising. Shoemaker also had a bone scan.

“I don’t know if we’re any closer to a solution now, but I know that they’re looking at every aspect of Matt,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully they’re going to find out exactly what’s going on.”

More DH ahead?

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By pushing back Shohei Ohtani’s next start on the mound, the Angels will be able to use him more as their designated hitter, perhaps for all three games in this weekend series.

That also means additional time at first base for Albert Pujols. He already has played more games (30) and innings (256) at first than he did in the previous two seasons.

Pujols, 38, has had a variety of lower-body ailments the past few years. The most recent season in which he played more in the field than as a designated hitter came in 2015, when he appeared in 96 games defensively.

“Albert’s held up very well,” Scioscia said. “It’s certainly a point that we’re paying a lot of attention to. He’s bouncing back well. Albert’s in great shape. He definitely wants to get out there as much as he can.”

Etc.

After the game, the Angels optioned outfielder Micheal Hermosillo to triple-A Salt Lake to make room for starter Jaime Barria, who will pitch Saturday.


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