Hector Olivera is on course to debut with the Atlanta Braves next week and if all goes according to plan, will become a fixture at third base and in the lineup for the foreseeable future. Olivera recently talked about his opportunity with 92.9 The Game's Grant McAuley.
"As I've said in previous interviews, I'm thankful for the Dodgers for giving me that opportunity, but I am happy with the trade. I knew a lot of the people here already from my time as a free agent. I had the opportunity to visit with the club when they were in Tampa last week. What I realized and what I saw is that it's more of a family atmosphere here. I really like that. Fredi Gonzalez, I have a good relationship with him. From what I see, I know he's the leader of this ship and everyone is willing to follow him. The future is bright here and I want to be a part of it."
Olivera is making his way back from a hamstring injury that he suffered while playing in the minors for the Dodgers. He went 1-for-17 between the Gulf Coast League and Rome, but has ramped it up somewhat while playing at Gwinnett.
"I am feeling a lot better. Every day [my timing] is getting better. I am feeling a lot more comfortable and I don't feel like I'm that far off."
"Every day is a learning process, but I feel a heck of a lot better. I think the more time I get there, the more confident I will get, but right now I'm building that confidence. I think I'll be more than adequate at the position."
While this Braves team was somewhat competitive early on, the focus has clearly been on the future since last off season. The team made Olivera a big part of that future after dealing Alex Wood and top prospect Jose Peraza to the Dodgers for him at the trade deadline. Atlanta hopes that Olivera becomes a big bat in the middle of their lineup and it appears the wait will soon be over.