Skip to content
Leonardo Rivas

Family key for Mariners infielder Leonardo Rivas

Leonardo Rivas overcomes long road to the majors

HOUSTON – There is one key to success in life for Mariners infielder Leonardo Rivas, and that’s his family. Sacrificing day by day and night by night, Rivas continues to push himself as he lives out his lifelong dream as a Major League Baseball player.

The 5-foot-8 utility infielder is determined to push forward knowing his family is right beside him.

“Family, man,” Rivas said on what keeps him motivated. “My wife, my daughter, father, brother, everybody … pushes me because, I won’t lie to you, it’s not easy. It’s hard. Baseball is hard.

“You have to be focused all the time, be consistent every day. Your mind has to be good. My family helps me a lot in that situation.”

Leonardo Rivas knew his passion early

All Leonardo Rivas wanted to do was play baseball growing up as a child. The Maracay, Venezuela, native started playing baseball at 3 years old, and he never missed a beat. He’d practice until the sun would start setting at his local park.

His parents, Leyda Briceño and Jorge Rivas, realized how good of a baseball player Leonardo Rivas was early. They wanted to do everything possible to keep their son’s dream a reality.

Leo was invited to play in a Little League World Series regional in Mexico, but his parents couldn’t afford to pay for it by themselves.


Seattle Mariners 3B Coach Manny Acta’s ImpACTA Kids a Source of Pride

Mariners reliever Andres Muñoz benefits from brothers

Julio Rodriguez earns Ken Griffey Jr. comparisons

“They would ask friends, and friends of friends,” Leo said of his parents raising money. “Like ‘Hey, I want my son to go there (Mexico), but I don’t have the money.’ They sacrificed a lot, and I appreciate that from them.”

Leo Rivas saw his best friend Yonathan Daza sign with the Colorado Rockies and just love the life of playing baseball as an occupation. In 2014, Rivas signed with the Los Angeles Angels at the age of 16. The Halos saw him as a second baseman, but they started to move him around the infield at different positions.

Seattle home

The 26-year-old Venezuelan spent five seasons in the Angels farm system before he was traded to the Reds in 2020. After two stints in the Reds’ minor leagues, Rivas elected free agency and found a new home in Seattle.

After spending nine minor league seasons with three different organizations, Rivas made his major league debut on April 28.

Leonardo Rivas
Leonardo Rivas credits his family for helping him establish himself in the majors. Photos courtesy of the Seattle Mariners.

The nine-year minor league journeyman hit a triple in his first Major League plate appearance. Rivas became the fourth Mariners player to hit a triple in his first MLB at-bat, joining Mickey Brantley (1986), Mario Diaz (1987), and Yuniesky Betancourt (2005). 

In addition, Rivas became the 999th player to sport the Mariners uniform.

“I talked to him when he got called up,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of Rivas. “His tools aren’t going to wow you, but his baseball IQ. He’s in the right place and knows what to do. … He’s done a nice job so far.”

Stay in the Loop

Get the Our Esquina Email Newsletter

By submitting your email, you are agreeing to receive additional communications and exclusive content from Our Esquina. You can unsubscribe at any time.