Earlier this year, when rumors began swirling about possible candidates to replace Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, Luis Rivera's name surfaced as one internal possibility. In just one season as the manager of Toronto's Double-A affiliate in New Hampshire, Rivera had shown great potential as a leader and teacher.
Rivera did not land Gaston's former job, but on Wednesday, it was announced that he will be a part of new Blue Jays manager John Farrell's Major League coaching staff in 2011. Rivera has been appointed to the position of coaching assistant, adding another highly-regarded mentor to Toronto's staff.
Rivera -- a native of Cidra, Puerto Rico -- also provides the Blue Jays with someone who can help with communication with Toronto's Spanish-speaking players. That is something that is very important for the Blue Jays, who have increased the emphasis on having Latin American players under general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Toronto also recently replaced bench coach Nick Leyva and first-base coach Omar Malave, who both speak Spanish.
Rivera, 46, joins a Blue Jays staff that also includes bench coach Don Wakamatsu, first-base coach Torey Lovullo, third-base coach Brian Butterfield, pitching coach Bruce Walton, bullpen coach Pat Hentgen and hitting coach Dwayne Murphy. Butterfield, Walton and Murphy were all members of Gaston's staff in 2010.
Last season was Rivera's first as manager of Double-A New Hampshire, but he spent the previous 10 seasons as a coach and manager for the Indians' organization. Following a 781-game Major League career as an infielder, Rivera spent the 2000-05 seasons working in Cleveland's farm system. He served as an infield and first-base coach for the Tribe from 2006-09 prior to joining Toronto.
In his first season with New Hampshire, Rivera led the Fisher Cats to a 79-62 regular-season record and a spot in the Eastern League Championship Series. Overall, Rivera has posted a 325-235 record as a Minor League manager and he was named the South Atlantic Manager of the Year in 2003.