SAN FRANCISCO -- The battle to back up Buster Posey appears to be over.
The Giants released veteran catcher Rene Rivera on Saturday morning, clearing the way for Aramis Garcia to begin the season on the big league roster. Rivera and Garcia had been the last two standing, and for the last couple of weeks, it appeared Rivera might have the edge.
Instead, it likely will be Garcia, who had a big September cameo last year and backed that up by posting a .912 OPS this spring with a pair of homers. Rivera had a hot start to his first spring as a Giant, but the non-roster invitee tailed off recently, finishing with a .258/.303./387 slash line.
The move gives the Giants more flexibility, as Garcia has minor league options and Rivera would have had to be added to the 40-man roster. They still have a veteran backup option in Stephen Vogt, who will begin the year with Triple-A Sacramento as he works his way back from shoulder surgery.
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Garcia appears set for his first Opening Day roster after an impressive six weeks in camp. He showed power throughout and has impressed the staff with how far he has come defensively. The 26-year-old will be part of a bench that is coming into shape. Late Friday night, manager Bruce Bochy announced that Yangervis Solarte, Gerardo Parra and Nick Vincent have made the team. All were non-roster invitees like Rivera, so the Giants will need to clear at least three 40-man spots.