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Monday, August 28, 2023

Roberto Rivera jumped from AA to bigs as lefty; Saw majors over two seasons

Roberto Rivera 1990 Watertown Indians card

Orlando Cubs reliever Roberto Rivera had a rough outing this game in July 1995, The Orlando Sentinel wrote

His manager Bruce Kimm, however, saw it as an exception, The Sentinel wrote.

"That's a rare night for Rivera," Kimm told The Sentinel afterward. "He's been good all year. But you have to have some of those sometimes."

For Rivera, he ended up being good enough by that September to make the jump all the way to Chicago. He saw seven games in the bigs that year, then 12 more four seasons later, after surgery, to round out his career.

Rivera's pro time began in 1988, signed by the Indians as an undrafted free agent out of his native Puerto Rico.

Rivera started with the Indians in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He made short-season Watertown in 1990 and then single-A Columbus and high-A Kinston. He went 8-1 that year, with a 2.12 ERA.

He first made AA Canton-Akron for eight outings in 1993. He then moved to the Cubs.  He played 1994 between Orlando and single-A Peoria.

For 1995, he returned to Orlando and went 6-2, with a 2.38 ERA over 49 relief outings. That September, the Cubs called Rivera, a left-hander, to Chicago.

"Ideally, I would have gone out and gotten a veteran left-handed reliever, but there just aren't that many out there," Cubs General Manager Ed Lynch told The Chicago Tribune of the decision to bring Rivera to the majors.

Rivera got into seven games for the Cubs. He saw five innings and gave up three earned runs.

Rivera returned to the minors for 1996, at Orlando and AAA Iowa. He then underwent elbow surgery and lost all of 1997.

He returned to the field at AAA New Orleans with the Astros for 1998. He signed with the Padres for 1999. He saw AAA Las Vega and San Diego.

With the Padres, he got into 12 games in relief. He went 1-2, with a 3.86 ERA in the last of his big league time.

He's recorded playing in one more season, with Saltillo and Monterrey in Mexico, to end his career.

Roberto Rivera 1990 Watertown Indians card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,212
Made the Majors:1,381-32.8%-X
Never Made Majors:2,831-67.2%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:561
10+ Seasons in the Minors:345

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