Juan Rivera has eyes examined, is not in Angels lineup for second straight game
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Juan Rivera, who did not play Wednesday night, has experienced some blurry vision over the past two weeks and went to an optometrist Thursday to have his eyes checked. The left fielder, who said he would get some results from the eye doctor Friday or Saturday, was also not in Thursday night’s lineup against the Rangers.
‘I started to notice it in the [June 18-20] series against the Chicago Cubs,’ said Rivera, who does not wear glasses or contacts. ‘The ball was a little blurry when I was hitting and when I was in the field. I see the ball when it comes out of the pitcher’s hand, but it’s hard to see the rotation. I see more of the ball when it gets closer to me.’
Rivera, who turns 32 on Saturday, is batting .239 this season, well off his career average of .285. His power numbers -- 10 home runs, 13 doubles, 34 runs batted in -- are decent, but with the season reaching the midway point (81 games) Thursday night, Rivera is not on pace to match the 25 homers and 88 RBIs he had last season.
Rivera has struck out 41 times, a reasonable number for a power hitter, and he has not misjudged or dropped any balls in the field, but could his vision problems be contributing to his sluggish year at the plate?
‘I don’t think that’s the reason,’ Rivera said. ‘The last three weeks, I’ve felt good at the plate.’
Manager Mike Scioscia thinks the calendar could have as much to do with Rivera’s struggles as his vision. Rivera is a career .264 hitter with a .448 slugging percentage before the All-Star break and a career .298 hitter with a .483 slugging percentage after it.
‘If you look at him historically, he’s a second-half player,’ Scioscia said. ‘Some of his numbers are not where you’d hope they would be, but he’s starting to swing the bat better.’
-- Mike DiGiovanna