128. T.J. Rivera:
8-12-11: - Stock Up – 2B T.J. Rivera – Rivera was signed this past June as an UDFA. The Lehman H.S. (Bronx) grad hit .290 for K-Port this season and is now turning heads in Brooklyn. Imagine being undrafted and then 4-5 for the Cyclones. On top of the world, Ma!
Mack: Hey everybody. We're talking today with SS T J Rivera who played K-Port this past season. Hey T.J.! Are you back home?
Rivera: Yes I have been home for about a week now. Just resting and spending some time with family and friends.
Mack: TJ, let's go back to before this season started. You were undrafted out of, first, The Bronx, and then, Troy University. Tell us how you signed with the Mets and what it was like playing in your first professional game?
Rivera: Yeah, I was undrafted out of college which was a little dissapointing at first but then I received a call to sign as a free agent a couple days after. I was really happy to hear I was getting a opportunity to keep playing ball. My first professional game was exciting. Playing pro ball has been my dream since I was a kid and to be able to do so has been a great experience.
Mack: One thing many fans don't realize is the grind of getting used to playing every day. Tell us what it was like for your in Kingsport this past year.
Rivera: I believe that's the hardest thing to adapt to when entering pro ball. In college you play a three game series and then have a couple of days to rest and workout. In pro ball your constantly getting after it everyday and it puts a toll on your body. Taking care of your body and being able to focus everyday is how you make it through a long season.
Mack: What are your plans for the off-season, TJ (is there a nickname for TJ?... joke)?
Rivera: Ha ha, maybe just "T". I have been home for a couple weeks relaxing and giving my body some rest. I will be heading back down to school very soon to start training and getting in shape for next season. I'm planning on working on all aspects of the game to improve on speed, range and a more consistant swing this off season.
Mack: Sandy Alderson is on record saying that one of the weakest areas of the pipeline is middle infielders. There doesn't seem to be anybody in theway for you torun up the system. Has there been any indication that you might play for a full season team come April?
Rivera: I honestly don't have any idea as to where I will be in April. I would love the opportunity to play for a full season team but I would be happy with any team that I'm assigned to.
Mack: Yeah, that was a stupid question. I know you don't know. TJ, there's not much more to ask you at this point in your professional career. Is there anything you want to say to the fans out there that are reading this?
Rivera: I would just like to thank all the fans that support us. They were great to us when I was in both Kingsport and Brooklyn. Hopefully, one day i can play in front of them at CitiField.
4-13-12 - -the Mets need to move TJ Rivera to St. Lucie. As Toby would say, the dude is hitting .419 in A-ball and he’s already 23-years old. I’m not sure what the Mets have here, but they’d have a much better idea if he was playing a level up each day.