From BR Bullpen
Lino Rivera Ortiz
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 173 lb.
Lino Rivera has been involved in baseball in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Taiwan and Canada in a long career as a player, coach and manager.
Rivera debuted in 1985 with the GCL Rangers, going 0-1 with a 2.86 ERA in 16 relief stints. In 1986, he was 3-2 with a 2.31 ERA for the GCL Rangers and allowed six runs in two innings for the Daytona Beach Admirals. One of his teammates on the GCL Rangers was John Burgos, a fellow Puerto Rican bound for a similarly long and winding career.
Lino spent all of 1987 with the Gastonia Rangers, posting a 1-5, 2.69 record with five saves in 51 games; only closer Wayne Rosenthal saw more action for Gastonia. In '88, the 21-year-old was again reliable, going 2-1 with two saves and a 3.67 ERA for the Charlotte Rangers.
Rivera wound up with the Detroit Tigers organization for 1989. He pitched that year for both the Lakeland Tigers (3-0, Sv, 0 ER, 10 H in 19 2/3 IP) and the Fayetteville Generals (4-1, 19 Sv, 2.86). For the Mayaguez Indians in the 1989-1990 Puerto Rican League, Rivera was 3-2 with a 3.35 ERA.
In 1990, Lino dazzled for Lakeland, going 1-0 with 14 saves and a 0.41 ERA in 36 games. Skipping AA, he went to the Toledo Mud Hens, where he did well (0-3, Sv, 3.07 in 18 games) but did not get called up to the Tigers - he would never make it to the major leagues.
Rivera's 7th minor league season saw him split time between Lakeland (2-1, 3 Sv, 3.38) and Canada's London Tigers (2-2, 3.71). Despite a productive year, he didn't make it to AAA, let alone the majors. Rivera moved to the St. Louis Cardinals system in 1992 but bombed for the Arkansas Travelers (3 runs in one inning, 1-0) and was quickly let go.
It is unclear where Rivera pitched in 1993-1994. In 1995, he was with Mexico's Monclova Steelers (1-3, 8.42, 41 H in 25 2/3 IP) and the Carolina Mudcats (6 R in 6 IP). Carolina would be his last stop in the US; at 28, he still had many years left in pro baseball, though.
Rivera signed with Taiwan's Mercuries Tigers for 1997. He went 9-8 with 8 saves and a 3.64 ERA. He was better in 1998, with a 10-6, 2.69 record. He finished fourth in the Chinese Professional Baseball League in ERA, second to Kevin Henthorne among imports, beating out several former major leaguers. He made the All-Star game that year.
In 1999, Rivera had a 8-10, 2.66 record for the Tigers to finish 7th in the CPBL in ERA. The veteran right-hander switched to the President Lions in 2000 but fell to 0-2, 4.34 with one save.
Let go by the Lions, Lino returned to Mexico's Monclova squad and was much better in his second go-around. He had a 14-6, 3.34 record in 2001, finishing two wins behind Mexican League leader Ravelo Manzanillo and placing second on his team in ERA.
Rivera began 2002 back in Taiwan with the Lions but went 0-3 with a 7.08 ERA and 1.98 WHIP and was let go. He re-signed with Monclova, where he finished the season 6-4 with a 4.32 ERA. In '03, the 36-year-old pitched for both Monclova and the Mexico City Tigers, with a composite record of 6-3, 4.35.
Overall, Rivera had gone 46-36 in the minor leagues and 27-29 in Taiwan.
Rivera was the skipper of the Gigantes de Carolina which won the 2006 Puerto Rican League pennant. He then managed the Yucatan Lions to the Mexican League title in 2006, his third year at the helm. He then piloted the Gigantes de Carolina to the Puerto Rican League title in the winter of 2006, then guided them to second place in the 2007 Caribbean Series. That gave him three pennants in the span of two years as a manager.