Former big-league outfielder and top prospect Ruben Rivera appears to have retired as a player, MiDiario.com reports (link in Spanish). Rivera will now become a hitting coach for his former team, the Olmecas de Tabasco.
Among many US readers, this news will surely be greeted with confusion, since Rivera last appeared in the big leagues in 2003, but he has been a star in Mexico for a decade since then, hitting at least 20 home runs in eight separate years in the Mexican League and also posting several strong seasons in the Mexican Pacific Winter League.
The 41-year-old Rivera has a somewhat different history in the United States, of course. He signed with the Yankees in 1990, and Baseball America ranked him in the top ten prospects in baseball in 1995, 1996 and 1997. After a trade to the Padres, though, he never had sustained success in the big leagues, generally posting low batting averages and on-base percentages in parts of four seasons in San Diego.
After being released, he headed to the Reds before returning to the Yankees prior to the 2002 season. The Yankees then released him after an infamous incident in which he took equipment from Derek Jeter to sell to a sports memorabilia dealer. He then played briefly for the Rangers and Giants (during which he was part of one of the greatest baserunning gaffes of all time) before heading to the minors and ultimately to Mexico. For his big-league career, Rivera hit .216/.307/.393 in 1818 plate appearances spanning nine seasons.