Are Olivera, Seager next to rise from Minors?
LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers recently added Yasiel Puig and Howie Kendrick back to their lineup as the duo returned from injury. More help could be on the way for the National League West leaders, this time coming from a pair of infielders in their farm system.
Los Angeles finalized a six-year, $62.5 million deal with Cuban infielder Hector Olivera on May 19, and Olivera made his debut in America on June 4 for Double-A Tulsa. After going 1-for-10 with four strikeouts in his first three games for the Drillers, Olivera broke out on Tuesday night, going 3-for-3 with his first home run of the season, a grand slam.
The 30-year-old has made two starts each at second base and third base. Olivera made a pair of errors in his debut at second.
"It sounds like he just needs at-bats and he needs to play," manager Don Mattingly said before the Dodgers wrapped up their three-game series with the D-backs on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.
Mattingly was mum on Olivera's timetable to reach the Majors, especially since he's been playing in the Minors for less than a week.
"No one is really telling me anything. It's just a matter of our development people and everybody watching him saying, 'Hey this guy is ready,'" Mattingly said. "Once they do that, I'll assume that's when we'll see him."
Mattingly did say, however, that Olivera could make a stop in Triple-A Oklahoma City before his callup to the Majors.
"I'm not 100 percent sure of that plan," Mattingly said. "I thought there was going to be some time at Triple-A, but we've had other guys go right from Double-A. It's just getting games in and getting games under your belt."
The 21-year-old Seager has been on fire at the plate. He began the year in Tulsa, where he hit .375 with five home runs in 20 games.
He was called up to Oklahoma City and has remained productive. He's hitting .292 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 36 games at Triple-A, which Mattingly said is an important step for a prospect.
"I think a lot more guys don't want to throw strikes," Mattingly said of Triple-A pitchers. "In Double-A, guys are still trying to get you out with their stuff in the strike zone. In Triple-A, you see more guys that have been here and not quite made it and now they're trying to figure out if they can get a guy to chase, which is a good part of your development, but it's the toughest thing. Guys here know when to throw you strikes and when not to."
The highlight of Seager's season came on May 28, as he unleashed a 6-for-6 barrage at the plate with a home run, two doubles and six RBIs.
The Dodgers everyday shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, has struggled at the plate this season, hitting a career-low .207.