The Atlanta Braves paid a premium price for Cuban infielder Hector Olivera and they are going to play it safe and make sure he is ready before promoting him to the major league club. Braves President John Hart told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's David O'Brien on Wednesday that Olivera isn't likely to be called up before the rosters expand on September 1.
That gives Olivera a bit more time to get ready while playing at Gwinnett and it allows the Braves to not have to make a roster move to open a spot on the 25-man roster. With the team that is currently just playing out the string for the regular season, there is no incentive to rush Olivera before he is ready.
"We DH'd him last night at Charlotte," Hart said. "We're going to play him at third base a couple or three games in a row, then we might give him a day off. We're not going to leave him down there (in Triple-A) forever. At some point (even) if he's not ready, we're going to bring him. Most likely it's going to be when the rosters expand, and he probably isn't going to be fully the same guy we're going to see next year."
Olivera got a late start to the season and missed all of spring training after signing with the Dodgers. He had just 74 at bats while playing his way through three levels of the Dodgers' minor league system. He hit .387 in 31 at bats for Triple-A Oklahoma City before suffering a hamstring injury that put him on the shelf.
"We knew when we made the (trade) that he hadn't been able to play for a period of time," Hart said. "He hurts his hamstring, his baseball activities got shut down. This is a guy that I think was ready to play; he hadn't played a lot in the year leading up to (this), in the year he was defecting he didn't participate a lot. Then he's out for basically all winter doing showcases and workouts. Then when he finally signed, he didn't get over (to the United States) till May. He got back in the fray, he didn't ever have a spring training, and he gets hurt."
Given the price that Atlanta paid in acquiring Olivera, its quite natural for fans to be anxious to see his debut. However, every move that this team has made this season has been made with the future in mind. There is no reason to deviate from that plan now.