Juan Rivera batted only .244 for the Dodgers last season. (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)
More evidence that the Yankees are the new Dodgers. No, wait, that’s backwards. Whatever, Monday brought one more slight role reversal.
The Yankees have signed former Dodger Juan Rivera, according to ESPN’s Andrew Marchad.
At least it was only to a minor-league deal and not the $4 million he earned from the Dodgers last season (plus a $500,000 buyout for this year), though he is in decent position to earn some playing time in New York.
All three of the Yankees starting outfielders are left-handed hitters -- Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner and Curtis Granderson -- and a right-handed hitting outfielder figures to get a decent amount of playing time.
Rivera will compete with Matt Diaz and Russ Canzler for the extra outfield spot.
Rivera, 34, parlayed a strong 35-game stretch in 2010 (31 RBI) into his deal with the Dodgers last season. He began the year as their primary left fielder, but his season never took off.
He finished 2012 with a .244 batting average, nine home runs, 47 runs batted in, 30 runs, .286 on-base and .375 slugging percentages in 310 at-bats. On his good days he was mediocre, but he started almost half the Dodgers’ games in either left, first, right and even designated hitter.
This year the Dodgers' starting outfield is set with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford, and although they could use a right-handed hitting outfielder who could back up Adrian Gonzalez at first, Rivera had been too unimpressive for too long to interest the Dodgers.
Which tells you plenty, unless you’re the Dodgers of the East.
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