News, notes and thoughts which won't make today's Independent Baseball Insider column:
SOMEONE MUST WANT MIKE RIVERA--With Jason Kendall an ironman behind the plate for the National League wild-card-leading Milwaukee Brewers, backup Mike Rivera seldom can be found in box scores. But when he gets in the lineup, the 31-year-old onetime Atlantic City (NJ) Surf certainly produces. Rivera has been in only eight games since May 25, but the inactivity does not seem to affect him. The right-handed hitter has gone 9-for-26 (.346) in that stretch to lift his season average to .333 (18-54). Wouldn't every manager like to get 14 runs batted in for every 54 at-bats. The Puerto Rican has a .400 on-base percentage.
PLAYING ALL NINE POSITIONS--The United League, one of several Independent leagues winding down the regular season, has already had one player play an inning at each position in a single game with another one to try it tonight (Thursday). Amarillo's Danny Bravo, who regularly plays shortstop and is one of the league's top hitters, went 3-for-5 (homer, double, single) during his nine-position game. "He's been very valuable at SS for us this year in winning the first half and clinching home field advantage (for the playoffs)," Manager Brady Bogart said in an email, while questioning why Bravo has not gotten another chance in affiliated baseball. Ryan Fox of Harlingen, TX, another UL hitting leader, is to try the feat tonight.
MC KINNEY HAS NINE-RBI GAME--The Frontier League has had some tremendous pitching feats of late, but Garth McKinney of Florence, KY struck a note for the hitters. He had a 6-for-6 game with nine runs batted in and four runs scored to pace a 14-2 pasting of the Midwest Sliders. The 6-foot-3 McKinney included a double and home run in his barrage, then came back the next night with another homer and two RBI. A centerfielder, McKinney is hitting .317 with 16 homers and 60 runs batted in plus 22 steals, proving he has more than raw power.