Cuban prospect Olivera expected to make debut with Braves next week
Cuban prospect Hector Olivera is expected to make his much-anticipated major league debut with the Atlanta Braves early next week.
Olivera, acquired in a three-team, 13-player deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins at the trade deadline, could be in the lineup as early as Monday for the start of Atlanta's nine-game homestand.
#Braves haven't set specific date for Olivera to join big-league team, but could be as soon as Monday. Will play 3B.— David O'Brien (@DOBrienAJC) August 20, 2015
The power-hitting third baseman, considered the prime chip for the Braves in the blockbuster trade, collected a pair of hits and drew a walk in four plate appearances Thursday night in his debut at Triple-A Gwinnett. Olivera said he expects his stint with Gwinnett to be brief.
Hector Olivera had a great start in his debut last night! Come out tonight to see him in game 2 of his rehab! pic.twitter.com/e1FEhl3Zt9— Gwinnett Braves (@GwinnettBraves) August 21, 2015
“I’m very excited. This is something I’ve strived for and now I’m close to experiencing it and being at that level," Olivera said via a translator. "I’m three or four games away from being ready to go up and face that challenge.”
Signed by the Dodgers to a six-year, $62 million contract with a guaranteed $28 million signing bonus, the 30-year-old Olivera struggled badly in his first six games with Atlanta's Gulf Coast League and Class A affiliates. Still, he caught the eye of Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman.
“It’s like Evan Gattis hitting balls,” Freeman said in comparing Olivera to the former Braves catcher. “He can hit them a long, long way.”