One is a future Hall of Famer. One has only appeared in 63 career games.
Yadiel Rivera and Yadier Molina might be worlds apart in terms of baseball accomplishments, but both “Yadi's” shared the spotlight for one night and made their fans in Puerto Rico proud.
With his family watching on TV back home, Rivera recorded his first career walk-off hit in the 10th inning of the Marlins’ 2-1 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday night.
A little more than an hour later in St. Louis, Molina hit his own walk-off single to give the Cardinals a victory.
“Everyone was really happy to see what I did and thrilled that two Yadi’s could pull that off on the same night,” Rivera said. “I got a lot of positive messages from my family.”
Rivera, who celebrated his 26th birthday Wednesday, entered the at-bat against Phillies reliever Yacksiel Rios having gone 2 for 20 at the plate while playing mostly as a late-inning defensive specialist in the Marlins’ infield.
Rivera, whom the Marlins signed to a minor-league deal, earned a roster spot out of spring training and has been able to hang on to it more than a month into the season.
“I felt great for him because I know how hard he’s been working and how hard it is to come off the bench in that spot and come through,” Miguel Rojas said. “I think that will give him confidence in that role.”
Rivera said his family tries to watch all of his games and tunes in from the start hoping he gets an opportunity as he did Tuesday night.
Rivera, who made his second start for the Marlins at second base Wednesday night, played in a combined 43 games for the Brewers during the past three years — bouncing from second base to shortstop to third base.
While his hitting numbers have not been noteworthy (.175 in 103 career at-bats), Rivera’s defense impressed the Marlins in spring training.
“I came in with the goal to demonstrate what I could do and even though I haven’t played much. The coaches have given me a lot of confidence that I would get opportunities like I did [Tuesday] so I just stayed ready,” Rivera said.
With the shortstop JT Riddle getting closer to coming back from injury, Rivera’s ability to play at all three positions could give the Marlins a difficult choice since Rivera is out of options.
“He’s a great teammate,” said Lewis Brinson, who played in the minors with Rivera in the Brewers’ farm system. “He never gives up. His glove is superior. He may have the best hands that nobody knows about in the infield, and always gives a good at-bat at the plate and a great clubhouse guy.”
THIS AND THAT
▪ The Marlins gave Starlin Castro a break after he started the first 29 games of the season. Mattingly did so to give Castro two days off with the Marlins not playing on Thursday, a day before opening a six-game road trip.
Castro, who is hitting .310 with six doubles and 10 RBI, entered Wednesday tied with the Mets’ Asdrubal Cabrera and Braves’ Ozzie Albies for the National League lead in hits with 35.
▪ Riddle moved a step closer to a return Wednesday as the Marlins reinstated the shortstop from the 10-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple A New Orleans. Riddle missed most of spring training while recovering from left shoulder surgery.
▪ Catcher Tomas Telis cleared waivers and was outrighted to New Orleans.
▪ Thursday: OFF.
▪ Friday: Miami Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (1-0, 1.69 ERA) vs. Cincinnati Reds RHP Sal Romano (1-3, 4.65), 7:10 p.m. Great American Ballpark.