<
>

Mets to promote Bronx native T.J. Rivera

NEW YORK -- Bronx native T.J. Rivera is headed to the majors.

Rivera was promoted from the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s after Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks to replace Brandon Nimmo, who was returned by the New York Mets to the Pacific Coast League club.

The reigning Pacific Coast League Player of the Week, the 27-year-old Rivera is hitting .349 with 11 homers and 80 RBIs this season.

Undrafted out of college, his .323 career batting average in six seasons is the best of any active minor league player.

Rivera -- a graduate of Lehman High School in the Bronx -- primarily has played third base for Las Vegas, although he also is capable of playing on the right side of the infield and has been given limited exposure to left field.

"He swings at everything and hits everything, basically," fellow infielder Ty Kelly recently said. "One of the first basemen ... asked if there was a magnet on his barrel. He's one of those guys, he doesn't ever have to take pitches. He's going to get hits because he can hit from his eyes to his ankles."

Rivera was eligible for the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings in December, but went unselected by the other 29 teams. The Mets only lost right-hander Matt Bowman in the major league phase.

"I thought there was a good chance," Rivera had said about the possibility of being selected. "My agent and family and whatnot told me there was a good possibility. Obviously it didn't come through. But I wasn't disappointed. I really try to stay positive. I had already been through the process before and wasn't taken. So it doesn't really affect me too much."