The Los Angeles Angels got some bad news last week when back-up catcher Rene Rivera had to undergo knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. But never fear Jose Briceno is here.
Those words were probably not very comforting to most Los Angeles Angels fans as most have never even heard of Briceno. Jose Briceno has been in the minor leagues his whole career since being drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2010. Briceno went to the Braves organization in 2015 and in the off-season Atlanta traded Briceno along with Andrelton Simmons for Erick Aybar and Sean Newcomb.
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Briceno has been in the Angels organization since then and has worked his way up to Triple-A and finally received the call-up when Rivera went down. In Briceno’s first game the back-up catcher went two for three with a two-run homer and three runs batted in and he did it at Yankee Stadium.
Quite a major league debut for Briceno. With Rivera on the disabled list probably until the close to the all-star break, Briceno has a chance to show what he can do for awhile. If he does well Briceno could use this experience to get a job as a back-up catcher with another team or even the Angels depending on what they decide to do with Rivera at the end of the season.
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In the minors Briceno has a career .239 batting average with 47 homers and 244 runs batted in 556 minor league games. The Angels are just hoping Briceno can play well enough to give Martin Maldonado a day off every now and again when he needs it.
Make no mistake Martin Maldonado does not have anything to worry about with Briceno taking his job as the main catcher, but it will be a nice luxury to have someone the Angels can count on to spell Maldonado when he needs a day off.
Good luck Jose Briceno and welcome to the big leagues!