Cubs notes: Cubs claim catcher Rene Rivera

SHARE Cubs notes: Cubs claim catcher Rene Rivera

Chicago Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo, left, Ian Happ, center, and Javier Baez, right, celebrate after they defeated the Blue Jays in a baseball game, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski) ORG XMIT: CXC118

The Cubs bolstered their catching depth Saturday by claiming 34-year-old Rene Rivera off waivers from the Mets.

With Willson Contreras (hamstring) on the disabled list and Alex Avila and Victor Caratini holding down the position, manager Joe Maddon jumped at the opportunity to add experience behind the plate.

Rivera has played all or parts of nine seasons in the majors with the Mariners, Twins, Padres, Rays and Mets. He’s a career .215 hitter in 453 games.

Maddon said he first saw Rivera early in his tenure with the Cubs while visiting infielder Javy Baez in Puerto Rico.

‘‘You can’t have enough pitching and you can’t have enough experience,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘I feel fortunate to be able to do this right now.’’

Maddon said he wasn’t sure whether Rivera would join the team Sunday or Tuesday.

‘‘Good reputation,’’ Maddon said of Rivera. ‘‘Has some pop, too, and hit a few home runs. That veteran presence and the depth it provides is all good stuff.’’

To make room for Rivera on their 40-man roster, the Cubs designated right-hander Aaron Brooks for assignment.

La-La Land

Maddon said he looks regularly at the standings but doesn’t read too deeply into them during the course of a season.

He has been impressed, though, by the 52-9 burst the Dodgers have  put together in their last 61 games.

‘‘That’s insane stuff,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘The roll they’re on is historical.’’

The Dodgers haven’t lost a series since June 5-7 and have had 39 comeback victories and 10 walk-offs during their surge.

The Cubs, meanwhile, have had an up-and-down season, Maddon acknowledged before their game against the Blue Jays. He said the defense hasn’t been as good as it was last season, and it has had adverse effect on the pitching.

‘‘We saw [the Dodgers] earlier this year and thought we matched up pretty well against them,’’ Maddon said.

The Cubs took two of three games from the Dodgers in April at Wrigley Field and were swept in three games in May at Dodger Stadium.

Umps unite

Umpires across Major League Baseball donned white wristbands to protest ‘‘escalating verbal attacks’’ against them.

Plate umpire Joe West, first-base umpire Andy Fletcher and second-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt all wore the wristbands on their left wrists.

The World Umpires Association called for the protest in response to Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler’s rant Monday about Angel Hernandez after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

‘‘The Office of the Commissioner has failed to address this and other escalating attacks on umpires,’’ a statement released by the umpires’ association said. ‘‘The Office of the Commissioner’s lenient treatment to abusive player behavior sends the wrong message to players and managers. It’s ‘open season’ on umpires, and that’s bad for the game.’’

Maddon said he doesn’t think umpires are mistreated but defended their right to protest.

‘‘That’s their prerogative to feel that way,’’ Maddon said. ‘‘I’m not gonna tell someone how to think or feel.’’

Follow me on Twitter @davidjustCST.


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