Gators in MLB: Drafted players signed; Puk in Futures game

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Mike Rivera Indians MLB
Florida's Mike Rivera reacts after hitting an RBI single in the seventh inning of Game 1 of the College World Series finals against LSU in Omaha, Neb., on June 26. The Indians announced his signing Friday. [AP Photo/Nati Harnik]

Florida junior catcher Mike Rivera signed with the Cleveland Indians, the team which selected him in the sixth round of last month’s MLB Draft.
Rivera, 21, helped lead Florida to the College World Series championship this season. He batted .238 with seven doubles, one triple, three home runs and 28 RBIs in 47 games (151 at-bats) while battling a broken hand.
“The big thing with him is his offensive ability,” said Brad Grant, the Indians’ director of amateur scouting. “He’s a guy who puts up very good numbers at the plate.
“He’s also an elite catch-throw prospect. He’s a very good framer. Very good understanding of how to call a game. Works extremely well with the pitchers. A great leader and a guy we’re excited about defensively behind the plate.”
Rivera joins other UF players who were drafted last month and signed with their MLB teams this week: Alex Faedo (Detroit Tigers), Dalton Guthrie (Philadelphia Phillies), Mark Kolozsvary (Cincinnati Reds), David Lee (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Frank Rubio (San Francisco Giants).
Second baseman Deacon Liput (Los Angeles Dodgers) and catcher/first baseman JJ Schwarz (Tampa Bay Rays) said last week that they will return to UF for the 2018 season.
Former UF pitcher A.J. Puk will participate in the 2017 Futures Game at 4 p.m. Sunday (MLB Network) at Marlins Park in Miami. The game is held in conjunction with the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and includes many of the top prospects.
Puk was drafted sixth overall by Oakland last year. The 6-foot-7 lefty struck out 98 batters in just 61 innings with Single-A Stockton to begin this season and earned a promotion to Double-A Midland last month. He is 4-7 (4.12 ERA) over 17 appearances combined between the two levels, but is averaging 13.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
Baseball America’s midseason rankings of the game’s top prospects has Puk at No. 27.
Another former UF pitcher, Brian Johnson, was reinstated from the disabled list Thursday and optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket. Johnson went on the DL on June 15 with a shoulder impingement. Johnson, 26, is 2-0 with a 4.29 ERA in four starts with Boston this season, striking out 17 and walking five in 21 innings.

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