UPDATE 2/6 7:15 a.m. EDT: The Yankees will pay outfielder Juan Rivera a base salary of $1.2 million, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:
as with matt diaz, juan rivera minor-league deal is for $1.2M base. #yankees— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) February 5, 2013
Original: Though they were linked to Scott Hairston throughout the winter, the New York Yankees eventually lost the right-handed-hitting outfielder to the Chicago Cubs. Forced to return to the free-agent market in their quest for a righty bat with limited options, the Yankees appear to have settled upon a familiar face.
The Yankees have agreed to sign Juan Rivera to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training, according to ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand.
Rivera joins Matt Diaz, Russ Canzler, and Thomas Neal in the hunt for the fourth-outfielder role for New York. The Yankees currently sport three left-handed hitters in its starting outfield, so Rivera could provide insurance against southpaw pitchers.
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In his career, Rivera has hit .285/.332/.488 against left-handed pitchers, but last season, those rates were reduced to .260/.314/.433 in 138 plate appearances. Overall, Rivera hit a lowly .244/.286/.375 for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 339 plate appearances, offering very little at the dish outside of occasional power.
The 34-year-old Rivera has been hampered by injuries throughout his career, and in 2013, he had to spend time on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain. The leg injuries have done no favours for Rivera's outfield defense, as he has posted a career -9.7 FRAA afield.