Q & A with M's catcher prospect Rene Rivera

SAN ANTONIO, TX - The San Antonio Missions are proudly sitting atop the Texas League standings these days and coinciding with the victories has been the return of Missions catcher Rene Rivera. After a month-long stint with the parent-club Mariners, Rivera has returned to "The Wolff" with Major League success under his belt. He sat down with InsidethePark.com's Warren Sims to share his experiences.

InsidethePark.com: This was your third call up to the big club in the past two seasons and this last particular trip amounted to much more playing time. In turn you put up big numbers (.364 1 HR and 5 RBI). Now that you have had a chance to catch your breath, what was the experience like?

Rene Rivera: The feeling was great! I really don't have words to explain it. I got a whole lot more playing time than I had the times before. It was awesome just being up there, playing at a place I want to be. It was great man.

ITP: Experiencing the kind of success that you did at the highest level of competition has got to be a great feeling. At the same time, however, it must be a let down having accomplished your goal of getting there, but then getting sent back down. Do you feel as if you still belong in the major leagues?

Rivera: Well it is never easy, but I was sent back here to play more. I need to come back here, because I know I can't play everyday there. I know that I can play in that league, and it's a shame but those guys had to make a decision, and that was for me to come here.

ITP: Hitting a home run is quite a feat in it self, but to hit a home run in the big leagues has got to feel great. Take us through that at-bat, and the emotions that followed.

Rivera: Great Feeling! The count was 0 and 2, and when I hit I don't think about hitting home runs, but when I hit that ball I knew I had hit it out. It was great running the bases, thinking that I just hit my first Major League home run. It was a great experience hitting that ball.

ITP: How did your Seattle teammates treat you while you were there, and was there any typical rookie treatment or were things not so bad since you had been there before?

Rivera: No, I was there before and they all know me. They treated me good while I was there. There are a bunch of older guys there, and I felt comfortable with my teammates. No jokes were played on me. It was as if I had been there for 10 years.

ITP: What about the first time you were called up?

Rivera: Oh yeah, the first time there were jokes, you know all the rookies. We had fun with that, you know, you have to have fun with everything they are going to make you do.

ITP: Was there anything in particular that they may have done to you?

Rivera: Well they have the dress up day, where the rookies have to dress up how ever they want you to. We had the gum thing, where they put gum on your hat. There was a lot of funny things like that.

ITP: What are your feelings about the situation now that you are back in San Antonio? Are you a little disappointed that you are not still with the Mariners?

Rivera: Well I am just a little disappointed - I did great over there. I did the best I can, and I had success over there. I hit well when I was there, better than I thought I would. I caught like I know how to catch, but I always take things in a good way. Over there I was only catching one out of every three games, but here I get to play every day. I know my abilities, and I know I am going to play this game for a long time up there. I am just going to take it slow, and go over there and play hard and make that team again.

ITP: During your limited time up with the Mariners, has anyone paid special attention to you or taken you under their wing?

Rivera: Oh yeah, lots of people. Pat Borders and I talked a lot in the dugout, the locker room and the clubhouse. Every time we gathered we were talking baseball. The other guy was Jaime Moyer, he grabbed me one time and we talked for two hours about baseball, the game and what I have got to do to stay there. I had a great time with people helping me outside the field like in the plane, or the hotel room. I may only be 21 years old but I am mature enough to play this game, and those guys helped me out a lot.

ITP: Good luck in the second half of the season where ever you might end up.

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