Since the Los Angeles Dodgers officially signed Hector Olivera in May, there have been many questions floating around him, with the majority focused on the 30-year-old’s health and how he would perform. Rumors arose that he had an elbow injury and denied a request for a second private physical with the Dodgers team doctors.
However, these questions have all faded away since Olivera’s joining Double-A Tulsa. He’s since been promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City and in nine Minor-League games, Olivera is batting .382/.432/.500 with one home run and six RBIs. Naturally, the next transition for the Cuban defector is to the Majors, where the Dodgers essentially cleared some room for him by trading Juan Uribe.
As is the case when questioned on Corey Seager’s expected arrival in the Majors, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman hasn’t identified a target date, according to Bill Plunkett of the OC Register:
I don’t know,” he said bluntly to that question. “From our standpoint, we don’t have a magic date. We don’t have a date circled on the calendar. It’s much more about getting him into good baseball shape. You know, he hadn’t played in a long time. So we’re getting him some games under his belt and once we reach the point of feeling he’s physically ready, then we’ll decide if it makes sense at that point in time (based on the Dodgers’ needs at the big-league level).” Friedman acknowledged that the All-Star break was a “reasonable” guess for Olivera’s arrival – but pointed out that almost any guess this early in the process would qualify as reasonable.
As for what caused Olivera to be removed early in Monday’s game and miss Tuesday’s Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he was dealing with some aspects of altitude sickness:
According to Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, Olivera was pulled from the game Monday (and was out of the starting lineup Tuesday) after experiencing issues with the altitude. Olivera “felt some sickness, headaches,” Mattingly said.
Olivera returned to the lineup Wednesday, starting at third base and batting second. Even without Uribe in the picture, the Cuban native faces plenty of competition at third. This season, the Dodgers third basemen have combined for a .324 batting average (highest for any position) with 36 RBIs (second highest). That being said, Mattingly recently confirmed Justin Turner is the primary starter at third base, though he still plans to get him rest.
With Alex Guerrero appearing to have fallen out of favor and the likelihood of Alberto Callaspo either getting traded or designated for assignment, Olivera figures to see his share of playing time once promoted.
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