Cubs notes: Cubs claim catcher Rene Rivera

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The Cubs bolstered their depth at catcher by adding a veteran hand Saturday, claiming 34-year-old Rene Rivera off waivers from the New York Mets.

With Willson Contreras on the 10-day disabled list and Alex Avila and Victor Caratini holding down the position, Joe Maddon jumped at the opportunity to add experience behind the plate.

Rivera has played all or part of nine seasons in the majors with the Mariners, Twins, Padres, Rays and Mets. He’s a career .215 hitter in 453 games.

Maddon said he first saw Rivera early in his tenure with the Cubs while visiting Javy Baez in Puerto Rico.

“You can’t have enough pitching and you can’t have enough experience,” Maddon said. “I feel fortunate to be able to do this right now.”

Maddon said he wasn’t sure if Rivera would join the club Sunday or Tuesday, but he’d make a decision then on how best to utilize him.

“Good reputation,” Maddon said of Rivera. “Has some pop, too, and hit a few home runs. That veteran presence and the depth it provides is all good stuff.”

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated Aaron Brooks for assignment.

Umps unite

Umpires across Major League Baseball donned white wristbands on Saturday to protest “escalating verbal attacks” against them.

Home-plate umpire Joe West, first-base umpire Andy Fletcher and second-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt all wore the white wristbands on their left wrists Saturday at Wrigley Field.

The World Umpires Association announced the protest in a statement Saturday, prompted by Ian Kinsler’s rant Monday after being ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

“The Office of the Commissioner has failed to address this and other escalating attacks on umpires,” the statement read. “The Office of the Commissioner’s lenient treatment to abusive player behavior sends the wrong message to players and managers. It’s ‘open season’ on umpires, and that’s bad for the game.”

Maddon said he doesn’t believe umps are mistreated but defended their right to protest.

“That’s their prerogative to feel that way,” Maddon said. “I’m not gonna tell someone how to think or feel.”

La-La Land

Maddon says he looks regularly at the standings but doesn’t read too deeply into them during the course of a season.

He’s been impressed, though, by the 51-9 run the Los Angeles Dodgers had put together through Friday.

“That’s insane stuff,” Maddon said. “The roll they’re on is historical.”

The Dodgers haven’t lost a series since June 5-7 and have had 39 comeback wins and 10 walk-offs during their streak.

The Cubs, meanwhile, have had an up-and-down season, Maddon acknowledged before Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays. The defense, he said, hasn’t been as good as it was a season ago, and it has had adverse impacts on the pitching, too.

“We saw them earlier this year and thought we matched up pretty well against them,” Maddon said.

The Cubs took two of three from the Dodgers at home in April and were swept in Los Angeles in May.

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