Just when Juan Rivera was being written off, he has started to hit.
The Blue Jays lost to the Rangers 7-6 on Wednesday, their first loss after winning the first two games of the four-game series in Texas, but it was no fault of Rivera.
He walked in the second inning, singled home a run in the third, homered in the seventh to tie the game and singled with two outs in the ninth to keep alive a rally that fell short.
Rivera's 3-for-4 game moved his average up to .210, a sign of how slowly he started. He was being booed by the Rogers Centre crowd on the last homestand.
He said he usually has slow starts. His career average for the first month of the season is his lowest of any month at .237.
"I am trying to get my timing 100 percent from what it was in spring training," Rivera said. "I'm not worried because I start slow. I'm starting to see the ball better, and my swing is getting better."
Rivera was batting .103 before starting a six-game hit streak on April 22. He has batted .391 (9-for-23) with two home runs, six RBI and four walks in those six games.
"When I get my timing, I get a good swing going. I'm working on that," he said.
It has been hard to figure what kind of future, if any, Rivera has with the Blue Jays. He was obtained in January from the Angels with catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli for outfielder Vernon Wells.
Napoli was flipped to Texas for right-handed reliever Frank Francisco, but the Blue Jays did not, or could not, deal Rivera.
If he continues to hit, he adds to his value, and that can work both ways. If he stays, he is helping the team, or it could make him more appealing for a trade.
With injured players returning, a decision on Rivera's future with the team, one way or the other, will probably have to be made soon.
And if Rivera has been a slow starter in Toronto, consider how Wells has done in his new home. Wells is batting .178 with one home run, five RBI and five walks -- and he is making a lot more money.
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