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New name takes over as Pirates closer, but player remains the same

The left-handed flamethrower in Pittsburgh has a new name. Pirates closer Felipe Rivero will now go by the name Felipe Vazquez after a legal name change to match the last name of his sister, Prescilla.

According to a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the name change has already gone through and the Pirates are now making efforts for his jersey to reflect the change. The name change can already be seen in effect as his Twitter name, though his handle remains @Rivero43.

The two siblings share a very close relationship, according to the report. Not only does Felipe live with Prescilla in Florida during the offseason, but Prescilla also advises him on several professional matters. Her urging led to him switching agents from Scott Boras last offseason and she was reportedly the primary negotiator for his four-year, $22 million extension with the Pirates.

Felipe Rivero has legally changed his name to Felipe Vazquez to match his sister, Prescilla. (Getty Images)

Whichever name you use, the pitcher has established himself as one of baseball’s scariest relievers since arriving in Pittsburgh in a 2016 trade deadline deal with Washington. Combining upper-90s heat with an excellent changeup, Vazquez posted a 21 saves and a 1.67 ERA in 75.1 innings during the 2017 season.

The newly named Vazquez joins an eclectic group of MLB players to make a name change in recent years, including Giancarlo Stanton (formerly Mike), Roberto Hernandez (formerly Fausto Carmona), Melvin Upton Jr. (formerly B.J.) and Yolmer Sanchez (formerly Carlos).

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