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Look out Dodgers, here comes John Wayne! Or at least Juan Rivera

June 04, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck | This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
  • Juan Rivera was hitting .247 with .276 on-base and .358 slugger percentages before rupturing his left hamstring.
Juan Rivera was hitting .247 with .276 on-base and .358 slugger percentages… (Michael Nelson / EPA )

And here comes the cavalry! Of course, when you’re in dire straits, you take your rescue where you can find it, or hope to.

Which in the case of the Dodgers means Juan Rivera, who as expected, was activated from the disabled list Monday in time to start play in the four-game series in Philadelphia.

To make room for Rivera, the Dodgers optioned rookie Scott Van Slyke back to triple-A Albuquerque. Van Slyke had one truly memorable home run, but otherwise was hitting .194 his first trip up.

Now Rivera is not exactly the return of Matt Kemp, but when you’ve lost six of your last seven games and are struggling to score, you search for encouragement anywhere it can possibly be identified.

Rivera was hardly ripping it up when he ruptured his left hamstring, hitting .247 with .276 on-base and .358 slugging percentages. Numbers that are currently almost identical to Jamey Loney’s.

Rivera has been out almost a month since injuring his hamstring May 8, oddly by sliding into third. Since that time Bobby Abreu has pretty much become the Dodgers’ everyday left-fielder, but since Abreu bats left and Rivera right, there should be plenty of opportunity to play Rivera. Plus, Rivera can play first and Abreu is 126 years old.

Rivera was immediately put into Monday's lineup batting fourth, and playing first base. Abreu is hitting fifth. Hey, that's improvement.

The Dodgers’ lead in the National League West has been cut to three games over that Halloween team up by the bay, so if nothing else, Rivera’s return could offer a modest morale boost to a team currently in need of one.

[For the Record, 1:31 p.m. June 4: An earlier version of this post incorrectly spelled Scott Van Slyke’s first name as Scot.]

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