© 2008 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
04/06/08 2:29 PM ET
Rivera good at guiding Parra to gems
Backup catcher helped starter in perfect game, first MLB win
By JR Radcliffe / MLB.com
MILWAUKEE -- When rookie starter Manny Parra delivered five no-hit innings in his 2008 debut Saturday, catcher Mike Rivera was given a moment of flashback. Rivera was behind the plate at Triple-A Nashville on June 25 last year, when Parra threw just the third nine-inning perfect game in the Pacific Coast League's 104-year history. "He had similar stuff," Rivera said. "When we did that, it was June, so he was in better shape. This being his first outing, I think it was great." The perfect game came in a season when Parra regained official top prospect status after rotator cuff surgery ended his 2005 campaign and derailed his fast track to the big leagues. Rivera, now in his fourth year with the organization and first year on the Brewers' Opening Day roster, had a big hand in making sure Parra earned his first Major League win, with RBIs in the second inning and fifth. Largely considered an "offensive catcher," Rivera has hung around in professional baseball for over a decade. "I prefer to be more of a defensive catcher; that's what you're supposed to do when you're a backup," Rivera said. "[Saturday], I let a few balls get away with me and with their running game -- they picked their spots on Manny. I guess there aren't that many offensive catchers in the league." Rivera endured some adventures behind the plate Saturday, including a passed ball that scored a run and four stolen bases against. Still, he could be paired with Parra on several occasions this season. "I would guess [we'd be matched up], because I have history with him and we've done pretty good, and maybe with [Yovani] Gallardo; I have history with him, too," Rivera said. "I feel comfortable with any of the guys."
JR Radcliffe is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.