The Los Angeles Dodgers and Hector Olivera agreed to terms on a contract in late March, but it wasn’t made official until until nearly two months later as Olivera awaited a visa for travel to the United States. He remained busy at the club’s Campo Las Palmas facility in the Dominican Republic, and was immediately sent to Camelback Ranch upon signing.
While Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said there wasn’t a timeline on Olivera’s rise to the Majors, he acknowledged the Cuban native would likely make his MLB debut this season after planned stops in High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City.
In the two weeks since Olivera has been working out in Arizona and playing in extended Spring Training games, the plan now has Olivera reporting to Double-A Tulsa on Thursday, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
he Dodgers have decided to send Cuban infielder Hector Olivera to Double-A Tulsa to make his professional debut in the United States.
Beginning Thursday the Drillers play 16 of their next 19 games at home. Dodgers director of player development recently praised Olivera for the work ethic he had during his time in Arizona, via Plunkett:
I’ve seen it before with extended spring (training camp) – the energy tends to lag a little bit toward the end,” the Dodgers director of player development said. “He’s brought a lot of energy to the camp. He’s got a great personality. The other players have really enjoyed having him there. He’s been a good influence with the way he goes about his business. Everyone in the organization already thought very highly of him. But watching him these past few weeks has only added to that respect.”
On a conference call in the hours after signing with the Dodgers, Olivera projected he would need three to four weeks before being physically prepared to play in the Majors. Mentally, he believed he was ready. The 30 year old’s forthcoming arrival presumably made trading Juan Uribe an easier proposition to accept.
Friedman said Olivera’s bat is one they figure slots in well in the heart of the order. Assuming the infielder is also capable of playing second base, which he’s done in Arizona, Olivera could also provide Howie Kendrick with games off — something that have been hard to come by for him.
Although Olivera joining the Dodgers may result in decreased playing time for Alex Guerrero at third base, he’s more than happy to welcome another Cuban into the fold.