Happy birthday to Rene Rivera! The backup backstop turns 30 today. This will be his first birthday in the big leagues since he turned 23 in 2006. Rivera spent some time up with the Twins in 2011 but was in AAA Rochester on his birthday.
Since being called up from Tucson, where he was having an All-Star season, Rivera has performed ably as Nick Hundley's understudy. He's been nearly flawless in 45 innings behind the plate, although both runners attempting to steal off him have succeeded. Over his career, however, Rivera's caught stealing percentage is well above league average and two runners isn't quite what you'd call a large sample size.
Rivera has four hits in sixteen at-bats this season, none for extra bases. In fact, you could count the number of extra base hits he's had in his 270 career at-bats on both of your hands and one of Bart Simpson's. Along with ten doubles, Rene has hit four major league home runs. His first homer was in 2005, off Padres starter Woody Williams. He added two game-tying shots the next season, against Baltimore's Rodrigo Lopez and Detroit's Nate Robertson. Rivera's most recent home run came in 2011 against Oakland's David Purcey. How cool would it be if he added some Redleg's name to that list today?
So, have a good one, Rene. Don't listen to the people who say turning 30 is something to get worked up about. Trust me, it's not as traumatizing as it's made out to be. Besides, being 30 in the majors has got to beat being 29 on a bus any day.