Rangers Sign Rivera to Minors Deal
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Ruben Rivera has signed a minor league contract with the Texas Rangers, who are giving the troubled outfielder a second chance after he was released by the New York Yankees.
Rivera was released March 11 by the Yankees after stealing former teammate Derek Jeter’s glove and bat from his locker and selling the items to a memorabilia dealer.
The Rangers had brought Rivera to their minor league camp in Florida on March 24 with intentions of giving him a 10-day tryout. It took only a week before the Rangers decided to sign Rivera.
``The report from our people is they like what they had seen on the field and off the field,″ Rangers general manager John Hart said. ``We have talked to him and have support people who will be in place to work with him daily in Tulsa.″
Rangers spokesman John Blake said Sunday that the 28-year-old Rivera will start the season with Texas’ Double-A team in Tulsa, Okla.
Once one of the most promising prospects in baseball, Rivera has spent parts of five seasons in the major leagues with the Yankees, San Diego and Cincinnati. In 562 games, he has a career batting average of .218 with 58 home runs and 185 RBIs.
Hart has never been one to avoid players who have had trouble in the past.
In two of his biggest moves since becoming the Texas GM last November, Hart traded for John Rocker and Carl Everett, players known as much for their tempers as their outstanding play.
Everett was suspended three times in his two seasons at Boston for an outburst with an umpire and constant arguments with managers Jimy Williams and Joe Kerrigan.
Rocker had a troubled relationship with teammates in Atlanta and Cleveland after his disparaging remarks about gays, minorities and others in a Sports Illustrated interview before the 2000 season.