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Rivera (knee) hits 10-day DL; Briceno called up

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Catcher Jose Briceno has been called up from Triple-A Salt Lake, manager Mike Scioscia said before Sunday's game against the Rays.

In a corresponding move, Rene Rivera has been placed on the 10-day DL with right knee inflammation, retroactive to May 17, and Keynan Middleton has been transferred from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL, according to the Angels' Twitter account. Briceno is now on the club's 40-man roster.

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ANAHEIM -- Catcher Jose Briceno has been called up from Triple-A Salt Lake, manager Mike Scioscia said before Sunday's game against the Rays.

In a corresponding move, Rene Rivera has been placed on the 10-day DL with right knee inflammation, retroactive to May 17, and Keynan Middleton has been transferred from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL, according to the Angels' Twitter account. Briceno is now on the club's 40-man roster.

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Briceno hit .261/.272/.500 over 92 plate appearances in the notoriously hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. His main draw is his ability behind the plate, where he has notched a solid 42 percent caught stealing rate in his last two seasons in the Minors.

Tweet from @Angels: Today, the #Angels have selected C Jose Brice��o to the Major League roster. C Rene Rivera has been placed on the 10-day DL with right knee inflammation (retro to 5/17) and RHP Keynan Middleton has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

"Over the last couple years, you've seen a young catcher grow from a guy that has what you consider [a] Major League skillset of tools, to a guy who is refined now to understand what he needs to do to help a pitcher through a game," Scioscia said. "He's worked very hard at it and he's worked really hard at Triple-A."

Briceno was originally acquired in the 2015 trade that brought Andrelton Simmons to the Halos in exchange for left-hander Sean Newcomb, a starting pitcher for the Braves, right-hander Chris Ellis -- who has not yet made the Majors -- and shortstop Erick Aybar -- a current free agent.

It will be Briceno's first career stint in the Major Leagues.

In 22 games, Rivera has batted .259/.322/.481 with three home runs and 10 RBIs over 59 plate appearances.

Not everyone is excited about Ohtani-mania

Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith isn't exactly all-aboard the Shohei Ohtani hype train.

When posed a question before Sunday's game about his thoughts on Ohtani's prowess both on the mound and at the plate, Smith gave a terse response.

"Who?" Smith said, with a straight face.

Ohtani.

"Who is that?" Smith said, with a laugh. "Nah, I've seen him. A little bit. Just a little bit though. He's a good ballplayer. We'll see how his season continues and progresses."

Smith hit seventh in the lineup on Sunday, facing Ohtani, who is making his sixth start of the season, so, granted, the edge in his response -- joking or not -- may be a byproduct of the mindset needed before facing a starting pitcher mano a mano. Ohtani struck out Smith in both the second and fifth inning, before getting him to fly out in the seventh.

Smith is hitting .313/.382/.422 on the season with 10 stolen bases -- with an American League-leading four caught stealings -- and a wRC+ of 125, meaning he's 25 percent better than league average as a hitter when accounting for ballpark and league. Ohtani holds a 3.58 ERA, 3.39 FIP and 1.102 WHIP with 43 strikeouts, an Angels record for a pitcher's first six career starts.

Shoemaker plays catch

Matt Shoemaker played light catch on Sunday for the first time since May 6. He is still being reassessed by multiple doctors for the right forearm strain that has kept him sidelined for all but one start this season.

The issue is primarily with his radial nerve, which has yielded discomfort in his arm since June 2017. He has made just one start since then.

The mindset, Shoemaker said, is to keep the arm active and moving. He is currently on the 60-day disabled list, with no specific timetable for return.

"It's been a very weird situation, as it's always been, unfortunately," Shoemaker said.

Worth noting

• Reliever Blake Wood will throw another rehab session on Sunday after having thrown one on Saturday with Class A Advanced Inland Empire, where he allowed one run on two hits in 2/3 of an inning of work. It will be his fourth rehab appearance -- he has allowed two earned runs over 2 1/3 innings in his three previous outings with Inland Empire. Wood has been on the disabled list since April 23 with right elbow impingement.

Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim.

Los Angeles Angels, Rene Rivera