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Olivera 'doing great,' Frias healthy after rehab start

Dodgers' injury-plagued Minor Leaguers on the road to recovery

LOS ANGELES -- When the Dodgers traded Juan Uribe in late May, the primary reason given was that Justin Turner had won the starting third-base job and Uribe wanted more playing time.

The secondary reason was that, one week earlier, the club had finally completed the signing of 30-year-old Cuban infielder Hector Olivera for $62.5 million to be the third -- or second -- baseman in the very near future.

The Dodgers put Olivera, who hadn't played competitively for two years, on the fast track. In the months leading up to his signing, he worked himself into playing shape at the club's academy in the Dominican Republic. Olivera spent one week at the team's Arizona training complex after signing, played one week for Double-A Tulsa, then played another week for Triple-A Oklahoma City.

On June 20, Olivera strained his left hamstring, initially believed to be a minor injury. On July 7, he returned to game action in the Rookie-level Arizona League and played six games -- and has been sidelined ever since.

Gabe Kapler, director of player development, issued the following upbeat update on Monday regarding Olivera's recovery, which notably lacks a timetable for his return.

"Hector is doing great," said Kapler. "He's recovering beautifully, running to increase speed and stride length. Working his tail off. Taking swings off the tee and looks strong and fluid."

Kapler also reported that Carlos Frias, whose Minor League rehab start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday ended after only two-thirds of an inning, exited the game healthy. Frias notched 24 pitches and earned two runs.

Frias has been dealing with lingering lower-back pain, his absence providing a greater sense of urgency for the Dodgers to deal for starting pitching before Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Frias had taken the starting slot belonging to Brandon McCarthy, who is out for the year with Tommy John surgery. Brandon Beachy stood in after Frias' injury for two shaky starts, then was optioned to Triple-A. Zach Lee filled the slot Saturday night in New York, losing in his Major League debut.

The Dodgers have been linked to virtually every available starting pitcher believed to be on the market -- most notably Philadelphia's Cole Hamels -- and some that aren't, like Detroit's David Price, who might be their true target.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for
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