MILWAUKEE -- Maybe it was fitting that the guy who wore Luis Vuitton shoes to the ballpark during Spring Training was at a Nashville shopping mall when his cell phone rang with news of a life-changing promotion. Triple-A manager Don Money was on the other end of the line, telling Carlos Corporan he had been promoted to the big leagues. The Brewers needed him because they placed backup catcher Mike Rivera on the disabled list Wednesday evening with a sprained left ankle. "I was shocked," said Corporan, 25. "Everything came to my mind, from when I was a little kid to everything that I came through to get here to this opportunity."
He immediately called the man who raised him in Puerto Rico. His grandfather, Alberto Hernandez, cried upon getting the news. Corporan, still in the middle of that shopping mall, cried, too. "We really didn't say anything," Corporan said. He arrived at Miller Park without any gear, his bags lost in transit after his original Nashville-to-Milwaukee flight was cancelled Thursday morning. So with borrowed shoes, a Chris Capuano model bat and a brand new uniform top, Corporan took the field at Miller Park for the first batting practice of his Major League career. Barring an emergency, he might not get to see the field much beyond batting practice. Jason Kendall is the Brewers' regular starting catcher, and he'll handle all five Brewers starters while Rivera recovers from the injury he suffered Tuesday night. Rivera had been assigned to catch right-hander Dave Bush's starts, a move to give Kendall regular rest, but manager Ken Macha had no plans for a Bush-Corporan pairing. "There were other options, and we discussed it after [Wednesday's] game and thought this was the best way to go," Macha said of picking Corporan. "Who knows? He may get in [a game]." The Brewers had to add Corporan to the 40-man roster in order to bring him up. Angel Salome was already on the 40-man roster and he got a taste of the Majors last September, but was passed over because he was hitting .182 after missing much of Spring Training with a back injury. "Angel's Spring Training, for me, was a waste," Macha said. The Brewers considered several outside players available on the waiver wire, Macha said, but opted for Corporan, who was hitting .333 at Nashville as Salome's backup but is not known for his bat. More important was the fact that Corporan spent the whole spring handling Brewers pitchers, even traveling with the team to Los Angeles for a pair of exhibition games against the Dodgers and then to San Francisco for a workout before the start of the season. "He's extremely enthusiastic. He loves the game," Macha said. "He has a great arm and is good on balls in the dirt. His M.O. is he doesn't swing the bat very well, but there's a lot of guys who are backup catchers in the big leagues who can catch and throw." Even if he doesn't play much, Corporan is going to soak up the experience. "I'm pretty thankful," Corporan said. "I did my best in spring, kept my mouth shut and worked hard every day. Look where I am now."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.