NEW YORK -- Rene Rivera underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee in Los Angeles on Friday, leaving the Angels without their primary backup catcher for an estimated four to six weeks.Rivera landed on the disabled list on Sunday with right knee inflammation, and an MRI
NEW YORK -- Rene Rivera underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee in Los Angeles on Friday, leaving the Angels without their primary backup catcher for an estimated four to six weeks.
Rivera landed on the disabled list on Sunday with right knee inflammation, and an MRI this week revealed the severity of the injury. The 34-year-old veteran was batting .259 with an .804 OPS, three home runs and 10 RBIs over 22 games in 2018.
"It's obviously a tough break for Rene right now, tough break for us," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But it happens when you're catching. The surgery went very well, so [his return will] be within that prescribed time range, and he'll come back from it then."
The Angels signed Rivera to a one-year, $2.8 million deal over the offseason in an attempt to ease the workload on starting catcher Martin Maldonado, who won a Gold Glove for his defense last year but faded offensively down the stretch. With Rivera sidelined, the Angels now turn to rookie Jose Briceno, who received his first Major League callup on Sunday but has not made his debut.
Briceno, who was acquired from the Braves along with Andrelton Simmons in 2015, batted .261 with a .772 OPS and six homers in 23 games with Triple-A Salt Lake this season. Maldonado will still draw the lion's share of time behind the plate for the Angels.
"Martin will play as much as he can stay fresh," Scioscia said. "Jose will certainly get his looks in there, to go in to catch and contribute."
The Angels have not yet received the same level of clarity on Matthew Shoemaker, who was examined by Dr. Susan Mackinnon in St. Louis this week but showed no signs of peripheral nerve involvement in his strained right forearm. Shoemaker also underwent a second MRI on Thursday in Los Angeles, which revealed mild edema in the forearm. The 31-year-old made only one start for the Angels this season before landing on the disabled list April 3.
"I don't know if we're any closer to a solution now, but I know they're looking at every aspect with Matt," Scioscia said. "Hopefully we'll find out exactly what's going on, and we'll move forward from here."
• The Angels have not yet announced when Shohei Ohtani will return to the mound, but Scioscia said, "I'm sure it's going to be this next week sometime." Ohtani had been penciled in to start Sunday's series finale at Yankee Stadium, but the Angels decided to push his start back to better manage his workload.
• Minor League right-hander Nathan Bates, who was on the Double-A Mobile roster, was suspended for 50 games on Friday following a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.