GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida baseball team is getting another piece of its offense back just in time for its final regular-season series.
Coach Kevin O’Sullivan said before practice Tuesday that junior C Mike Rivera will return to the lineup as the team’s designated hitter for the 3-game set against Kentucky. Rivera has been out for the last 19 games after breaking the hamate bone in his right hand on April 11 against FSU. He took batting practice at Alabama last weekend and is full go for practice this week.
O’Sullivan said fellow juniors JJ Schwarz and Mark Kolozsvary will continue rotating at catcher for the series.
“I just think it’s smart that we don’t overdo it with the bat and the catching part,” O’Sullivan said. “I think it’s probably smart on our part for the long haul to let him hit this weekend and DH and get as many live at-bats as he can these next two days when we practice and then just keep doing what we’ve been doing behind the plate with JJ and Kolo.”
Before the injury, Rivera was batting .260 on the season with 6 doubles, 2 home runs, 17 RBI and 13 runs scored in 31 games. In the 10 games prior to the injury, Rivera was getting hot, hitting .364 with 8 RBI and scoring 6 runs.
“Right before he got hurt, he was one of the hottest hitters in our lineup,” O’Sullivan said. “I think he lengthens [our lineup] out.”
In Rivera’s absence, Kolozsvary has been getting into a groove. In his 14 starts since Rivera’s injury (11 at catcher, 3 at designated hitter), Kolozsvary has a .304 batting average with 8 doubles, 9 RBI and 9 runs scored. Defensively, Kolozsvary has made just one error.