After spending six games with Double-A Tulsa, Hector Olivera was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday, taking the next step before his expected Major-League debut this season. The Los Angeles Dodgers have said Olivera won’t be rushed along as him getting comfortable both on the field and off of it is important.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said Friday in San Diego the promotion is part of the plan for Olivera after getting him playing time with the Drillers, though the fifth-year manager also added there isn’t a timetable on Olivera.
While there may not be a set date for the Cuban defector’s arrival in the Majors, Olivera figures to present a challenge in terms of how Mattingly will distribute playing time. It’s been assumed the 30 year old will play third base for the Dodgers, though Olivera has also gotten some work in at second base.
“I know he’s playing third, some second also, and maybe even some first,” Mattingly said when asked where he envisions slotting Olivera in the infielder. With Alberto Callaspo, Alex Guerrero and Justin Turner all capable of playing third base, that leads for a crowded group at the hot corner; granted it’s not beyond the realm of possibility Callaspo gets designated for assignment or traded.
The thought of a juggling act forthcoming similar to the one Mattingly has had with his outfield over the last few seasons isn’t weighing on the manager. “I’m not really that worried about it, honestly,” he said. “If he [Olivera] can hit and do his thing, then we’ll figure it out.”
Finding Olivera playing time based on his bat is a similar approach the Dodgers had with Guerrer, who’s primarily been used in left field or as a pinch-hitter after spending time at third base and in left early on. Olivera hit 318/.400/.455 (7-for-22) with one home run (a grand slam), six RBIs, five strikeouts and one walk in six games with the Drillers.