Upon officially signing a six-year, $62.5 million contract the Los Angeles Dodgers, the expectation from many, though largely unfair, was that Cuban infielder Hector Olivera would reach the Majors within a matter of weeks.
The Dodgers for their part continuously stated there wasn’t a timetable placed on the 30 year old, and he would only join the big league club once he was comfortable both on and off the field.
While Olivera has yet to advance past Triple-A Oklahoma City, he took advantage of the Dodgers playing a series at Chase Field by visiting the clubhouse and meeting the staff, according to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, rehabbing a strained left hamstring at the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch complex, visited the big league clubhouse at Chase Field to introduce himself to manager Don Mattingly and staff.
Manager Don Mattingly’s first time meeting Olivera went well:
He handled himself well, seemed comfortable,” Mattingly said.
Olivera was placed on the seven-day disabled list with the hamstring strain retroactive to June 21 and sent to the Dodgers’ Camelback Ranch Spring Training facility to rehab the injury. Soon after Olivera was placed on the DL, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friemdan classified the strain as minor, and said Olivera had progressed well at the plate and at third base.
The Cuban defector is batting .387/.387/.581 through seven games with the Oklahoma City Dodgers. That’s after slashing .318/.400/.455 with one home run and six RBIs over six games with Double-A Tulsa.
It was originally planned for Olivera to begin his professional career in the United States with High-A Rancho Cucamonga after training at Camelback Ranch. The Dodgers’ decision to place Olivera in Double-A led to more speculation he’d reach the Majors sooner rather than later. Mattingly said recently Olivera was in need of more seasoning.
Given the minor setback with the hamstring strain, the earliest Olivera figures to be seen in a Dodgers uniform is sometime after the All-Star break with a date in late-July or August appearing to be the likeliest of options.