After being signed back in March, Cuban infielder Hector Olivera has been expected to join the Los Angeles Dodgers and make an impact as early as this season.
The Cuban infielder was signed to a six-year, $62.5 million deal to be a part of the Dodgers. At first, the team had to wait for Olivera to receive a visa to enter the United States. Once he received that, he officially signed his deal and began working out at Camelback Ranch. Some believed that Olivera could join the Dodgers as early as now, while others have projected the All-Star break as a target date.
The 30-year-old began playing in real games when he joined the Dodgers Double-A affiliate, the Tulsa Drillers, and quickly moved his way to the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers. While he’s done well at the plate in OKC, manager Don Mattingly doesn’t believe that’s reason to call him up right away.
“Olivera has been swinging the bat well, but there’s been no indication that he’s coming tomorrow or the next day. We still feel like there’s baseball to be played for him to get back in shape and get his legs underneath him,” Mattingly said.
In 13 games split between the Drillers and OKC Dodgers, Olivera is hitting .358 with a pair of home runs and seven RBIs. He’s played second and third base.
When asked what the plan will be once Olivera does join the team, Mattingly wasn’t quite sure. Justin Turner has been one of the Dodgers best hitters and Howie Kendrick as an All-Star caliber second baseman, leaving Olivera without an everyday spot. He could spell both, essentially getting three starts a week.
It will provide an interesting dilemma for Mattingly once he does reach the Majors, but not necessarily a bad dilemma.
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